Correlated inbreeding among relatives: occurrence, magnitude, and implications

Jane Margaret Reid, Lukas F. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the magnitude and causes of genetic and phenotypic resemblance among relatives is key to understanding evolutionary processes. Contrary to basic expectation, individual coefficients of inbreeding (f) were recently hypothesized to be intrinsically correlated across parents and offspring in structured populations, potentially creating an additional source of phenotypic resemblance in traits that show inbreeding depression. To test this hypothesis, we used individual-based simulations to quantify the parent-offspring correlations in f arising under random mating in populations of different size, immigration rate, and mating system. Parent-offspring correlations in f were typically positive (median r approximate to 0.2-0.4) in relatively small and isolated populations. Relatively inbred parents therefore produced relatively inbred offspring on average, although the magnitude of this effect varied considerably among replicate populations. Correlations were higher given more generations of random mating, greater variance in reproductive success, polygynous rather than monogamous mating, and for midparent-offspring rather than parent-offspring relationships. Furthermore, f was also positively correlated across half-siblings, and closer relatives had more similar inbreeding coefficients across entire generations. Such intrinsic resemblance in f among relatives could provide an additional genetic benefit of mate choice and bias quantitative genetic analyses that do not account for correlated inbreeding depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-985
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online date10 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Animal model
  • genetic variance
  • heritability
  • heterozygosity
  • pedigree
  • relatedness
  • sexual selection
  • effective population-size
  • genetic-structure
  • mate choice
  • quantitative genetics
  • natural-populations
  • island population
  • melospiza-melodia
  • wild population
  • song sparrows


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