The purge of genetic load through restricted panmixia in a Drosophila experiment


Aurora García-Dorado, Departamento de Genética, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense. 28040 Madrid, Spain.
Tel.: 3414973810; fax: 341914974844; e-mail:


Using Drosophila melanogaster, we explore the consequences of restricted panmixia (RP) on the genetic load caused by segregating deleterious recessive alleles in a population where females mate a full sib with probability about ½ and mate randomly otherwise. We find that this breeding structure purges roughly half the load concealed in heterozygous condition. Furthermore, fitness did not increase after panmixia was restored, implying that, during RP, the excess of expressed load induced by inbreeding had also been efficiently purged. We find evidences for adaptation to laboratory conditions and to specific selective pressures imposed by the RP protocol. We discuss some of the consequences of these results, both for the evolution of population breeding structures and for the design of conservation programmes.