PHASE III OF WRIGHT'S SHIFTING BALANCE PROCESS AND THE VARIANCE AMONG DEMES IN MIGRATION RATE

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Abstract

Interdemic selection by the differential migration of individuals out from demes of high fitness and into demes of low fitness (Phase III) is one of the most controversial aspects of Wright's Shifting Balance Theory. I derive a relationship between Phase III migration and the interdemic selection differential, S, and show its potential effect on FST. The relationship reveals a diversifying effect of interdemic selection by Phase III migration on the genetic structure of a metapopulation. Using experimental metapopulations, I explored the effect of Phase III migration on FST by comparing the genetic variance among demes for two different patterns of migration: (1) island model migration and (2) Wright's Phase III migration. Although mean migration rates were the same, I found that the variance among demes in migration rate was significantly higher with Phase III than with island model migration. As a result, FST for the frequency of a neutral marker locus was higher with Phase III than it was with island model migration. By increasing FST, Phase III enhanced the genetic differentiation among demes for traits not subject to interdemic selection. This feature makes Wright's process different from individual selection which, by reducing effective population size, decreases the genetic variance within demes for all other traits. I discussed this finding in relation to the efficacy of Phase III and random migration for effecting peak shifts, and the contribution of genes with indirect effects to among-deme variation.

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