Higher impact of female than male migration on population structure in large mammals

Authors

  • Ralph Tiedemann,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unit of Evolutionary Genetics, Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium,
    2. Institut für Haustierkunde, University of Kiel, Germany,
      Ralph Tiedemann. Fax: + 49 431 8801389; E-mail: rtiedemann@ifh.uni-kiel.de
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  • Olivier Hardy,

    1. Laboratory of Plant Genetics and Ecology, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium
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  • Xavier Vekemans,

    1. Laboratory of Plant Genetics and Ecology, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium
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  • Michel C. Milinkovitch

    1. Unit of Evolutionary Genetics, Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium,
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Ralph Tiedemann. Fax: + 49 431 8801389; E-mail: rtiedemann@ifh.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

We simulated large mammal populations using an individual-based stochastic model under various sex-specific migration schemes and life history parameters from the blue whale and the Asian elephant. Our model predicts that genetic structure at nuclear loci is significantly more influenced by female than by male migration. We identified requisite comigration of mother and offspring during gravidity and lactation as the primary cause of this phenomenon. In addition, our model predicts that the common assumption that geographical patterns of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) could be translated into female migration rates (Nmf) will cause biased estimates of maternal gene flow when extensive male migration occurs and male mtDNA haplotypes are included in the analysis.

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