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Data from: Response to selection on cold tolerance is constrained by inbreeding


Dierks, Anneke; Fischer, Klaus; Baumann, Birgit (2012), Data from: Response to selection on cold tolerance is constrained by inbreeding, Dryad, Dataset,


The evolutionary potential of any given population is of fundamental importance for its longer-term prospects. Modern land-use practices often result in small and isolated populations, increasing extinction risk through reduced genetic diversity caused by inbreeding or drift. Concomitant genetic erosion may further interfere with a population’s evolutionary potential. In this study we investigate the consequences of inbreeding on evolutionary potential (the ability to increase cold resistance) in the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana. We applied artificial selection to chill-coma recovery time, starting from three levels of inbreeding (outbred control, one or two full-sib matings). Ten generations of selection produced highly divergent phenotypes, with the lines selected for increased cold tolerance showing by ca. 28% shorter recovery times after cold exposure relative to unselected controls. Correlated responses to selection in 10 life history and stress resistance traits were essentially absent. Inbred lines showed a weaker response to selection, thus indicating a reduced evolutionary potential. Inbreeding depression was still measurable in some traits after the course of selection. Traits more closely related to fitness showed a clear fitness rebound, suggesting a trait-specific impact of purging. Our findings have important implications for the longer-term survival of small populations in fragmented landscapes.

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