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Does inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity decrease disease resistance?

Spielman, D., Brook, Barry W., Briscoe, D. A. and Frankham, Richard (2004). Does inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity decrease disease resistance?. Conservation Genetics,5(4):439-448.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Does inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity decrease disease resistance?
Author Spielman, D.
Brook, Barry W.
Briscoe, D. A.
Frankham, Richard
Journal Name Conservation Genetics
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 5
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1566-0621   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-4544233459
Start Page 439
End Page 448
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Dordrect, Netherlands
Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity are predicted to decrease the resistance of species to disease. However, this issue is controversial and there is limited rigorous scientific evidence available. To test whether inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity affect a host's resistance to disease, Drosophila melanogaster populations with different levels of inbreeding and genetic diversity were exposed separately to ( a) thuringiensin, an insecticidal toxin produced by some strains of Bacillus thuringiensis, and (b) live Serratia marcescens bacteria. Inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity significantly reduced resistance of D. melanogaster to both the thuringiensin toxin and live Serratia marcescens. For both, the best fitting relationships between resistance and inbreeding were curvilinear. As expected, there was wide variation among replicate inbred populations in disease resistance. Lowered resistances to both the toxin and the pathogen in inbred populations were due to specific resistance alleles, rather than generalized inbreeding effects, as correlations between resistance and population fitness were low or negative. Wildlife managers should strive to minimise inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity within threatened populations and to minimise exposure of inbred populations to disease.
Keywords disease resistance
drosophila melanogaster
genetic diversity
population size
red queen hypothesis
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