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Male mutation bias and possible long-term effects of human activities.
The ability of a population to adapt to changing environments depends critically on the amount and kind of genetic variability it possesses. Mutations are an important source of new genetic variability and may lead to new adaptations, especially if the population size is large. Mutation rates are extremely variable between and within species, and males usually have higher mutation rates as a result of elevated rates of male germ cell division. This male bias affects the overall mutation rate. We examined the factors that influence male mutation bias, and focused on the effects of classical life-history parameters, such as the average age at reproduction and elevated rates of sperm production in response to sexual selection and sperm competition. We argue that human-induced changes in age at reproduction or in sexual selection will affect male mutation biases and hence overall mutation rates. Depending on the effective population size, these changes are likely to influence the long-term persistence of a population.
Adaptation, Biological/genetics, Age Factors, Animals, Genetic Variation, Genetics, Population, Human Activities, Humans, Male, Mating Preference, Animal/physiology, Models, Genetic, Mutation/genetics, Sex Factors, Spermatozoa/physiology
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