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Keywords:

  • Amphibian deformities;
  • frogs;
  • gamete interactions;
  • nonadditive genetic variance;
  • polyandry;
  • selective fertilization

Theory suggests that multiple mating by females can evolve as a mechanism for acquiring compatible genes that promote offspring fitness. Genetic compatibility models predict that differences in fitness among offspring arise from interactions between male and female haplotypes. Using a cross-classified breeding design and in vitro fertilization, we raised families of maternal and paternal half-siblings of the frog Crinia georgiana, a species with a polyandrous breeding system and external fertilization. After controlling for variation in maternal provisioning, we found significant effects of interacting parental haplotypes on fertilization success, and nonadditive genetic effects on measures of offspring fitness such as embryo survival, and survival to, size at, and time to metamorphosis. Additive genetic variation due to males and females was negligible, and not statistically significant for any of the fitness traits measured. Combinations of parental haplotypes that resulted in high rates of fertilization produced offspring with higher embryo survival and rapid juvenile development. We suggest that a gamete recognition mechanism for selective fertilization by compatible sperm may promote offspring fitness in this system.