Reviewing the consequences of genetic purging on the success of rescue programs



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Pérez Pereira, Noelia and Caballero, Amando and García-Dorado, Aurora (2021) Reviewing the consequences of genetic purging on the success of rescue programs. Conservation genetics, 23 . pp. 1-17. ISSN 1566-0621, Electronic: 1572-9737

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Genetic rescue is increasingly considered a promising and underused conservation strategy to reduce inbreeding depression and restore genetic diversity in endangered populations, but the empirical evidence supporting its application is limited to a few generations. Here we discuss on the light of theory the role of inbreeding depression arising from partially recessive deleterious mutations and of genetic purging as main determinants of the medium to long-term success of rescue programs. This role depends on two main predictions: (1) The inbreeding load hidden in populations with a long stable demography increases with the efective population size; and (2) After a population shrinks, purging tends to remove its (partially) recessive deleterious alleles, a process that is slower but more efcient for large populations than for small ones. We also carry out computer simulations to investigate the impact of genetic purging on the medium to long term success of genetic rescue programs. For some scenarios, it is found that hybrid vigor followed by purging will lead to sustained successful rescue. However, there may be specifc situations where the recipient population is so small that it cannot purge the inbreeding load introduced by migrants, which would lead to increased ftness inbreeding depression and extinction risk in the medium to long term. In such cases, the risk is expected to be higher if migrants came from a large non-purged population with high inbreeding load, particularly after the accumulation of the stochastic efects ascribed to repeated occasional migration events. Therefore, under the specifc deleterious recessive mutation model considered, we conclude that additional caution should be taken in rescue programs. Unless the endangered population harbors some distinctive genetic singularity whose conservation is a main concern, restoration by continuous stable gene fow should be considered, whenever feasible, as it reduces the extinction risk compared to repeated occasional migration and can also allow recolonization events.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Migration; Gene fow; Reconnection; Inbreeding depression; Population extinction
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Genetics
ID Code:73345
Deposited On:01 Jul 2022 10:31
Last Modified:01 Jul 2022 11:28

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