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Why We Should Stop Trying to Measure the Cost of Reproduction Correctly

Robert C. Bailey
Oikos
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Nov., 1992), pp. 349-352
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3545031
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3545031
Page Count: 4
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Why We Should Stop Trying to Measure the Cost of Reproduction Correctly
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Abstract

The Cost of Reproduction (CoR) is a basic assumption of most models of life-history evolution. CoR's "correct" measurement, such that strictly genetic correlations between traits related to present versus future reproduction are evaluated, is not a valid test of the explanatory power of life-history models. If the genotype for an optimum effort is prevalent in a population, genetic variation for reproductive effort will be near zero. It follows that genetically based correlations will also be small, and artificial selection experiments will not reveal a genetic CoR. Similarly, no particular relationship between present and future reproductive output results from considering life-history traits to be "adaptively plastic" or using the "comparative approach" at inter-specific or higher taxonomic levels. Life-history theory is difficult to test because its predictions are general and relative rather than specific and quantitative.

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