Sheltering of lethals
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The approach to linkage equilibrium of a locus linked to the locus determining gametophytic self-incompatibility (S) is considered. For the simplest case of three alleles at the S locus and two at the linked locus it is necessary to consider 3 measures of linkage disequilibrium. These are found to approach their equilibrium value of zero in one of three ways: 1) steadily declining to zero; 2) oscillating as decline proceeds; 3) a combination: 2) followed by 1). Linkage equilibrium may be established before genotype frequencies reach their expectation under random crossing. Earlier studies (Li 1951; Moran 1962) of the approach to S allele equilibrium have been based on the assumption that all types of pollen take part in fertilizations equally frequently. Such an assumption leads to simpler expressions for changes in S gene frequencies but is extremely unrealistic and, in particular, leads to a different rate of approach to equilibrium from the more comprehensive model. It is shown that even in the absence of selection it is not possible to predict the equilibrium gene frequency of a linked locus until S allele equilibrium is reached. This frequency may be either higher or lower than that calculated from a gene count in the starting genotype pool. However, these two gene frequencies may stabilize long before linkage equilibrium is achieved. An examination of selection against one genotype at the linked locus is undertaken. If linkage is complete, lethality can be less effective at reducing the gene frequency than is less intense selection (in only a few generations of selection). Here too linkage equilibrium may be established with selection still effective in bringing about a decline in gene frequency. An examination of the analysis and conclusions of Rasmuson (1980) shows that because these were based on the inadequate formulae previously discussed and exclude phenomena discussed above, they are misleading. The possibility of a gametophytic self-incompatibility system providing a sufficient condition for the sheltering of lethals in the absence of the condition of complete linkage to the S locus (r=0) is shown to be unlikely.
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