Balanced genetic diversity improves population fitness

Yuma Takahashi, Ryoya Tanaka, Daisuke Yamamoto, Suzuki Noriyuki, Masakado Kawata

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Although genetic diversity within a population is suggested to improve population-level fitness and productivity, the existence of these effects is controversial because empirical evidence for an ecological effect of genetic diversity and the underlying mechanisms is scarce and incomplete. Here, we show that the natural single-gene behavioural polymorphism (Rover and sitter) in Drosophila melanogaster has a positive effect on population fitness. Our simple numerical model predicted that the fitness of a polymorphic population would be higher than that expected with two monomorphic populations, but only under balancing selection. Moreover, this positive diversity effect of genetic polymorphism was attributable to a complementarity effect, rather than to a selection effect. Our empirical tests using the behavioural polymorphism in D. melanogaster clearly supported the model predictions. These results provide direct evidence for an ecological effect of genetic diversity on population fitness and its condition dependence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20172045
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Volume285
    Issue number1871
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 31

    Keywords

    • Complementarity
    • Diversity effect
    • Drosophila melanogaster
    • Genetic diversity
    • Polymorphism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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