Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis
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Lecture 6: Inbreeding and Heterosis. Inbreeding. Inbreeding = mating of related individuals Often results in a change in the mean of a trait Inbreeding is intentionally practiced to: create genetic uniformity of laboratory stocks produce stocks for crossing (animal and plant breeding)

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Lecture 6: Inbreeding and Heterosis

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Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

Lecture 6:Inbreeding and Heterosis



  • Inbreeding = mating of related individuals

  • Often results in a change in the mean of a trait

  • Inbreeding is intentionally practiced to:

    • create genetic uniformity of laboratory stocks

    • produce stocks for crossing (animal and plant breeding)

  • Inbreeding is unintentionally generated:

    • by keeping small populations (such as is found at zoos)

    • during selection

Genotype frequencies under inbreeding

Genotype frequencies under inbreeding

  • The inbreeding coefficient, F

  • F = Prob(the two alleles within an individual are IBD) -- identical by descent

  • Hence, with probability F both alleles in an individual are identical, and hence a homozygote

  • With probability 1-F, the alleles are combined at random

Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

Random mating

Alleles IBD

Changes in the mean under inbreeding


0 a+d 2a

freq(A1) = p, freq(A2) = q

Changes in the mean under inbreeding

Using the genotypic frequencies under inbreeding, the

population mean mF under a level of inbreeding F is

related to the mean m0 under random mating by

mF = m0 - 2Fpqd

Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

Here B is the reduction in mean under

complete inbreeding (F=1) , where

For k loci, the change in mean is

• There will be a change of mean value dominance is present (d not zero)

• For a single locus, if d > 0, inbreeding will decrease the mean value of the trait. If d < 0, inbreeding will increase the mean

• For multiple loci, a decrease (inbreeding depression) requires

directional dominance --- dominance effects di tending to be positive.

• The magnitude of the change of mean on inbreeding depends on gene

frequency, and is greatest when p = q = 0.5

Inbreeding depression and fitness traits



Inbreeding Depression and Fitness traits

Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

Define ID = 1-mF/m0 = 1-(m0-B)/m0 = B/m0

Why do traits associated with fitness show inbreeding depression

Why do traits associated with fitness show inbreeding depression?

  • Two competing hypotheses:

    • Overdominance Hypothesis: Genetic variance for fitness is caused by loci at which heterozygotes are more fit than both homozygotes. Inbreeding decreases the frequency of heterozygotes, increases the frequency of homozygotes, so fitness is reduced.

    • Dominance Hypothesis: Genetic variance for fitness is caused by rare deleterious alleles that are recessive or partly recessive; such alleles persist in populations because of recurrent mutation. Most copies of deleterious alleles in the base population are in heterozygotes. Inbreeding increases the frequency of homozygotes for deleterious alleles, so fitness is reduced.

Estimating b


m0 - B





In many cases, lines cannot be completely inbred due to

either time constraints and/or because in many species

lines near complete inbreeding are nonviable

Estimating B

In such cases, estimate B from the regression of mF on F,

mF = m0 - BF

If epistasis is present, this regression is non-linear,

with CkFk for k-th order epistasis

Minimizing the rate of inbreeding

Minimizing the Rate of Inbreeding

  • Avoid mating of relatives

  • Maximum effective population size Ne

  • Ne maximized with equal representation

    • Ne decreases as the variance of contributed offspring increases

    • Contribution (number of sibs) from each parent as equal as possible

    • Sex ratio as close to 1:1 as possible

    • When sex ratio skewed (r dams/sires ),every male should contribute (exactly) one son and r daughters, while every female should leave one daughter and also with probability 1/r contribute a son

Line crosses heterosis

Line Crosses: Heterosis

When inbred lines are crossed, the progeny show an increase in mean

for characters that previously suffered a reduction from inbreeding.

This increase in the mean over the average value of the

parents is called hybrid vigor or heterosis

A cross is said to show heterosis if H > 0, so that the

F1 mean is average than the average of both parents.

Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

The expected amount of heterosis becomes

Expected levels of heterosis

If pi denotes the frequency of Qi in line 1, let pi + di denote

the frequency of Qi in line 2.

• Heterosis depends on dominance: d = 0 = no inbreeding depression and no.

heterosis as with inbreeding depression, directional dominance is required for heterosis.

• H is proportional to the square of the difference in gene frequency

Between populations. H is greatest when alleles are fixed in one population and

lost in the other (so that | di| = 1). H = 0 if d = 0.

• H is specific to each particular cross. H must be determined empirically,

since we do not know the relevant loci nor their gene frequencies.

Heterosis declines in the f 2

Heterosis declines in the F2

In the F1, all offspring are heterozygotes. In the F2,

Random mating has occurred, reducing the frequency

of heterozygotes.

As a result, there is a reduction of the amount of

heterosis in the F2 relative to the F1,

Since random mating occurs in the F2 and subsequent

generations, the level of heterosis stays at the F2 level.

Crossing schemes to reduce the loss of heterosis synthetics




Crossing Schemes to Reduce the Loss of Heterosis: Synthetics

Take n lines and construct an F1 population by

making all pairwise crosses

Allow random mating from the F2 on to produce a

synthetic population

Only 1/n of heterosis

lost vs. 1/2

Schemes to reduce the loss of heterosis rotational crossbreeding









Schemes to Reduce the Loss of Heterosis: Rotational Crossbreeding

Suppose we have three “pure” lines, A, B, C

Originally suggested for pig populations

Each generation, cross

a crossbred dam with a sire

from the next line in the sequence

Lecture 6 inbreeding and heterosis

H/3 vs. H/2 for synthetics

Average of parental lines

Average of all pair-wise crosses

Subset of all pair-wise crosses (non-adjacent

Crossed lines)

For a two-line rotation

General expression for n-line rotation

Can show the expected mean is greater than the

corresponding n-line synthetic

Individual vs maternal heterosis

Individual vs. Maternal Heterosis

  • Individual heterosis

    • enhanced performance in a hybrid individual

  • Maternal heterosis

    • enhanced maternal performance (such as increased litter size and higher survival rates of offspring)

    • Use of crossbred dams

    • Maternal heterosis is often comparable, and can be greater than, individual heterosis

Individual vs maternal heterosis in sheep traits

Individual vs. Maternal Heterosis in Sheep traits

Agricultural importance of heterosis

Agricultural importance of heterosis

Crosses often show high-parent heterosis, wherein the

F1 not only beats the average of the two parents

(mid-parent heterosis), it exceeds the best parent.

Variance changes under inbreeding

F = 1/4

F = 0

F = 1

F = 3/4

Variance Changes Under Inbreeding

Inbreeding increases the variation between populations

(i.e., variation in the means of the populations)

Inbreeding reduces variation within each population

Variance changes under inbreeding1

Variance Changes Under Inbreeding

Mutation and inbreeding

Mutation and Inbreeding

• Eventually these two forces balance, leading to

an equilibrium level of genetic variance reflecting

the balance between loss from drift, gain from mutation

• As lines lose genetic variation from drift, mutation

introduces new variation

VM = new mutation variation each generation, typically

VM = 10-3 VE


Strictly neutral mutations

Strictly additive mutations

Symmetrical distribution of mutational effects

Between line divergence

Between-line Divergence

The between-line variance in the mean (VB) in generation

t is

For large t, the asymptotic rate is 2VMt

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