Decline in heterozygosity under full-sib and double first-cousin inbreeding in Drosophila melanogaster.
W Rumball, I R Franklin, R Frankham, B L Sheldon


The effects of inbreeding on heterozygosities and reproductive fitness were determined by carrying out full-sib and double first-cousin inbreeding in Drosophila melanogaster populations for up to 18 generations. Parents were scored each generation for five or six polymorphic enzyme loci, and progeny numbers per pair were recorded. Inbreeding depression, in the form of significant reductions in progeny numbers and significant extinction of lines, was observed. Heterozygosity decreased at a significantly slower rate than predicted, being about 80% of expected. The full-sib and double first-cousin treatments showed similar disagreement with expectations over comparable ranges of inbreeding. Natural selection was shown to favor heterozygotes in the inbred lines. Associative overdominance was the most probable explanation for the slower than expected decline in heterozygosity.