Stability of Underdominant Genetic Polymorphisms in Population Networks

Stability of Underdominant Genetic Polymorphisms in Population Networks
Áki J. Láruson, Floyd A. Reed

Heterozygote disadvantage is potentially a potent driver of population genetic divergence. Also referred to as underdominance, this phenomena describes a situation where a genetic heterozygote has a lower overall fitness than either homozygote. Attention so far has mostly been given to underdominance within a single population and the maintenance of genetic differences between two populations exchanging migrants. Here we explore the dynamics of an underdominant system in a network of multiple discrete, yet interconnected, populations. Stability of genetic differences in response to increases in migration in various topological networks is assessed. The network topology can have a dominant and occasionally non-intuitive influence on the genetic stability of the system. Applications of these results to theories of speciation, population genetic engineering, and general dynamical systems are described.

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