Data from: Heterozygosity-fitness correlations in a migratory bird: an analysis of inbreeding and single-locus effects
Harrison, Xavier A. et al. (2011), Data from: Heterozygosity-fitness correlations in a migratory bird: an analysis of inbreeding and single-locus effects, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.52dk8
Studies in a multitude of taxa have described a correlation between heterozygosity and fitness, and usually conclude that this is evidence for inbreeding depression. Here we have used multi-locus heterozygosity estimates from 15 microsatellite markers to show evidence of heterozygosity-fitness correlations (HFCs) in a long-distance migratory bird, the light-bellied Brent goose. We found significant, positive heterozygosity-heterozygosity correlations between random subsets of the markers we employ, and no evidence that a model containing all loci as individual predictors in a multiple regression explained significantly more variation than a model with multi-locus heterozygosity as a single predictor. Collectively these results lend support to the hypothesis that the HFCs we have observed are a function of inbreeding depression. However, we do find that fitness correlations are only detectable in years where population-level productivity is high enough for the reproductive asymmetry between high and low heterozygosity individuals to become apparent. We suggest that lack of evidence of heterozygosity-fitness correlations in animal systems may be because heterozygosity is a poor proxy measure of inbreeding, especially when employing low numbers of markers, but alternatively because the asymmetries between individuals of different heterozygosities may only be apparent when environmental effects on fitness are less pronounced.