Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Daniel D. Heath

Keywords

Biological sciences, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, Conservation, Genetic load, Inbreeding, Inbreeding depression, Purging, Salmon

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Strong evidence that shows inbreeding in many plants and animals can lead to detrimental effects at the level of the organism as well as the population. Inbreeding and its effects have been the focus of much attention in terms of conservation and captive rearing and breeding programs for many endangered species. Inbreeding depression (ID) is the fitness loss associated with individuals and populations that have experienced inbreeding. Surprisingly, ID studies within salmonids are not extensive. Here, I used inbred offspring of self-fertilized hermaphrodite parents to study the effects of ID in Chinook salmon ( Oncorhynchus tshawytscha ) at an extreme level of inbreeding. High levels of ID were found after a single generation of self-crossing, resulting in substantial fitness losses. The potential to purge genetic load from a population was shown to take place and the major genetic mechanism driving ID was due to expression of deleterious recessive alleles.

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