SHOULD INDIVIDUAL FITNESS INCREASE WITH HETEROZYGOSITY?
Michael Turelli, Lev R. Ginzburg

ABSTRACT

Natural selection influences not only gamete frequencies in populations but also the multilocus fitness structures associated with segregating gametes. In particular, only certain patterns of multilocus fitnesses are consistent with the maintenance of stable multilocus polymorphisms. This paper offers support for the proposition that, at stable, viability-maintained, multilocus polymorphisms, the fitness of a genotype tends to increase with the number of heterozygous loci it contains. Average fitness always increases with heterozygosity at stable product equilibria (i.e., those without linkage disequilibrium) maintained by either additive or multiplicative fitness schemes. Simulations suggest that it "generally" increases for arbitrary fitness schemes. The empirical literature correlating allozyme heterozygosity with fitness-correlated traits is discussed in the light of these and other theoretical results.

  • Received September 24, 1982.
  • Accepted January 19, 1983.