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Sequential polyandry may evolve as an insurance mechanism to reduce the risk that females choose mates that are genetically inferior (intrinsic male quality hypothesis) or genetically incompatible (genetic incompatibility hypothesis). The prevalence of such indirect benefits remains controversial, however, because studies estimating the contributions of additive and non-additive sources of genetic variation to offspring fitness have been limited to a small number of taxonomic groups. Here, we use artificial fertilisation techniques combined with a cross-classified breeding design (North Carolina Type II) to simultaneously test the 'good genes hypothesis' and the 'genetic incompatibility hypothesis' in the brown toadlet (Pseudophryne bibronii); a terrestrial breeding species with extreme sequential polyandry. Our results revealed no significant additive or non-additive genetic effects on fertilisation success. Moreover, they revealed no significant additive genetic effects, but highly significant non-additive genetic effects (sire by dam interaction effects), on hatching success and larval survival to initial and complete metamorphosis. Taken together, these results indicate that offspring viability is significantly influenced by the combination of parental genotypes, and that negative interactions between parental genetic elements manifest during embryonic and larval development. More broadly, our findings provide quantitative genetic evidence that insurance against genetic incompatibility favours the evolution and maintenance of sequential polyandry. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
What drives mating system variation is a major question in evolutionary biology. Female multiple mating (polyandry) has diverse evolutionary consequences, and there are many potential benefits and cos...
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A species of the family Ranidae which occurs primarily in the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Two subspecies exist, commonly referred to as green frog (R. c. melanota) and bronze frog (R. c. clamitans).
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