Inbreeding depression in an asexual population ofMimulus guttatus

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The reproductive mechanism, that is whether an organism outcrosses, selfs or asexually reproduces, has a substantial impact on the amount and pattern of genetic variation. In this study, we estimate genetic variation and genetic load for a predominately asexual population of Mimulus guttatus, and then compare our results to other studies of predominately sexually reproducing (outcrossing and selfing) populations of M. guttatus. The asexual population had low levels of heterozygosity (He = 0.03) and low (but significantly non-zero) inbreeding load, especially when compared with other M. guttatus populations. This differs greatly from the sexual populations of Mimulus that display substantial inbreeding depression. We discuss a variety of reasons why we see such low load in this study and suggest future research projects to further explore the questions.

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