Inbreeding depression and the evolution of dispersal rates: a multilocus model

Am Nat. 2005 Dec;166(6):708-21. doi: 10.1086/497543. Epub 2005 Oct 4.


Inbreeding depression is one of the possible reasons organisms disperse. In this article, we present a two-locus model for the evolution of dispersal in the presence of inbreeding depression. The first locus codes for a modifier of the migration rate, while the second locus is a selected locus generating inbreeding depression. We express the change in frequency of the migration modifier as a function of allele frequencies and genetic associations and then use a quasi-equilibrium assumption to express genetic associations as functions of allele frequencies. Our model disentangles two effects of inbreeding depression: it gives an advantage to migrant individuals because their offspring are on average less homozygous, but it also decreases the degree of population structure, thus decreasing the strength of kin selection for dispersal. We then extend our model to include an infinite number of selected loci. When the cost of dispersal is not too high, the model predictions are confirmed by multilocus simulation results and show that inbreeding depression can have a substantial effect on the dispersal rate. For high costs of dispersal, we observe discrepancies between the model and the simulations, probably caused by associations among selected loci, which are neglected in the analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Size
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Female
  • Inbreeding*
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic*