Do Female Prairie Voles Prefer Intra- Versus Inter-population Males

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Biology | Life Sciences


Shawn A. Thomas, Biology


Mate choice involves assessment of potential partners and culminates in preference for and mating between individuals. One criterion assumed to be of importance in mate choice is genetic relatedness between individuals. Much is understood about the negative effects of close inbreeding in natural environments. Studies across taxa have shown that the offspring of closely related individuals can show a marked decrease in viability compared to non-inbred members of the same population (reviewed in Ralls et al. 1988; Crnokrak and Roff 1999). This reduction in fitness following a matting of closely related individuals is referred to as inbreeding depression (Hedrick and Kalinowski 2000) and is thought to be caused by the segregation of recessive alleles (Wright 1977).