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Tests for sex-biased dispersal using bi-parentally inherited genetic markers.
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Understanding why dispersal is sex-biased in many taxa is still a major concern in evolutionary ecology. Dispersal tends to be male-biased in mammals and female-biased in birds, but counter-examples exist and little is known about sex bias in other taxa. Obtaining accurate measures of dispersal in the field remains a problem. Here we describe and compare several methods for detecting sex-biased dispersal using bi-parentally inherited, codominant genetic markers. If gene flow is restricted among populations, then the genotype of an individual tells something about its origin. Provided that dispersal occurs at the juvenile stage and that sampling is carried out on adults, genotypes sampled from the dispersing sex should on average be less likely (compared to genotypes from the philopatric sex) in the population in which they were sampled. The dispersing sex should be less genetically structured and should present a larger heterozygote deficit. In this study we use computer simulations and a permutation test on four statistics to investigate the conditions under which sex-biased dispersal can be detected. Two tests emerge as fairly powerful. We present results concerning the optimal sampling strategy (varying number of samples, individuals, loci per individual and level of polymorphism) under different amounts of dispersal for each sex. These tests for biases in dispersal are also appropriate for any attribute (e.g. size, colour, status) suspected to influence the probability of dispersal. A windows program carrying out these tests can be freely downloaded from http://www.unil.ch/izea/softwares/fstat.html
Alleles, Animals, Birds/genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Female, Genetic Markers, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Male, Monte Carlo Method, Polymorphism, Genetic, Sex Characteristics
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