Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 541520
Title Deleterious alleles in the context of domestication, inbreeding, and selection
Author(s) Bosse, Mirte; Megens, Hendrik-Jan; Derks, Martijn F.L.; Cara, Ángeles M.R. de; Groenen, Martien A.M.
Source Evolutionary Applications (2018). - ISSN 1752-4563
Department(s) WIAS
Animal Breeding and Genetics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) deleterious alleles - domestication - genetic load - inbreeding - selection

Each individual has a certain number of harmful mutations in its genome. These mutations can lower the fitness of the individual carrying them, dependent on their dominance and selection coefficient. Effective population size, selection, and admixture are known to affect the occurrence of such mutations in a population. The relative roles of demography and selection are a key in understanding the process of adaptation. These are factors that are potentially influenced and confounded in domestic animals. Here, we hypothesize that the series of events of bottlenecks, introgression, and strong artificial selection associated with domestication increased mutational load in domestic species. Yet, mutational load is hard to quantify, so there are very few studies available revealing the relevance of evolutionary processes. The precise role of artificial selection, bottlenecks, and introgression in further increasing the load of deleterious variants in animals in breeding and conservation programmes remains unclear. In this paper, we review the effects of domestication and selection on mutational load in domestic species. Moreover, we test some hypotheses on higher mutational load due to domestication and selective sweeps using sequence data from commercial pig and chicken lines. Overall, we argue that domestication by itself is not a prerequisite for genetic erosion, indicating that fitness potential does not need to decline. Rather, mutational load in domestic species can be influenced by many factors, but consistent or strong trends are not yet clear. However, methods emerging from molecular genetics allow discrimination of hypotheses about the determinants of mutational load, such as effective population size, inbreeding, and selection, in domestic systems. These findings make us rethink the effect of our current breeding schemes on fitness of populations.

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