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Data from: The efficiency of close inbreeding to reduce genetic adaptation to captivity


Theodorou, Konstantinos; Couvet, Denis (2014), Data from: The efficiency of close inbreeding to reduce genetic adaptation to captivity, Dryad, Dataset,


Although ex situ conservation is indispensable for thousands of species, captive breeding is associated with negative genetic changes: loss of genetic variance and genetic adaptation to captivity that is deleterious in the wild. We used quantitative genetic individual-based simulations to model the effect of genetic management on the evolution of a quantitative trait and the associated fitness of wild-born individuals that are brought to captivity. We also examined the feasibility of the breeding strategies under a scenario of a large number of loci subject to deleterious mutations. We compared two breeding strategies: repeated half-sib mating and a method of minimizing mean coancestry (referred to as gc/mc). Our major finding was that half-sib mating is more effective in reducing genetic adaptation to captivity than the gc/mc method. Moreover, half-sib mating retains larger allelic and adaptive genetic variance. Relative to initial standing variation, the additive variance of the quantitative trait increased under half-sib mating during the sojourn in captivity. Although fragmentation into smaller populations improves the efficiency of the gc/mc method, half-sib mating still performs better in the scenarios tested. Half-sib mating shows two caveats that could mitigate its beneficial effects: low heterozygosity and high risk of extinction when populations are of low fecundity and size and one of the following conditions are met: (i) the strength of selection in captivity is comparable with that in the wild, (ii) deleterious mutations are numerous and only slightly deleterious. Experimental validation of half-sib mating is therefore needed for the advancement of captive breeding programs.

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