Inbreeding depression varies with investment in sex in a facultative parthenogen

Carla E. Cáceres, Cynthia Hartway, Kimberly A. Paczolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reproductive mode of facultative parthenogens allows recessive mutations that accumulate during the asexual phase to be unmasked following sexual reproduction. Longer periods of asexual reproduction should increase the accumulation of deleterious mutations within individuals, reduce population-level genetic diversity via competition and increase the probability of mating among close relatives. Having documented that the investment in sexual reproduction differs among populations and clones of Daphnia pulicaria, we ask if this variation is predictive of the level of inbreeding depression across populations. In four lake populations that vary in sex investment, we raised multiple families (mother, field-produced daughter, laboratory-produced daughter) on high food and estimated the fitness reduction in both sexually produced offspring relative to the maternal genotype. Inbred individuals had lower fitness than their field-produced siblings. The magnitude of fitness reduction in inbred offspring increased as population-level investment in sex decreased. However, there was less of a fitness reduction following sex in the field-produced daughters, suggesting that many field-collected mothers were involved in outcross mating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2474-2480
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Cyclical parthenogenesis
  • Daphnia
  • Ephippia
  • Inbreeding
  • Resting eggs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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