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PloS one

Males and females contribute unequally to offspring genetic diversity in the polygynandrous mating system of wild boar.


PMID 25541986

Abstract

The maintenance of genetic diversity across generations depends on both the number of reproducing males and females. Variance in reproductive success, multiple paternity and litter size can all affect the relative contributions of male and female parents to genetic variation of progeny. The mating system of the wild boar (Sus scrofa) has been described as polygynous, although evidence of multiple paternity in litters has been found. Using 14 microsatellite markers, we evaluated the contribution of males and females to genetic variation in the next generation in independent wild boar populations from the Iberian Peninsula and Hungary. Genetic contributions of males and females were obtained by distinguishing the paternal and maternal genetic component inherited by the progeny. We found that the paternally inherited genetic component of progeny was more diverse than the maternally inherited component. Simulations showed that this finding might be due to a sampling bias. However, after controlling for the bias by fitting both the genetic diversity in the adult population and the number of reproductive individuals in the models, paternally inherited genotypes remained more diverse than those inherited maternally. Our results suggest new insights into how promiscuous mating systems can help maintain genetic variation.