Conservation Genetics

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 655–663 | Cite as

Methods for minimizing the loss of genetic diversity in conserved populations with overlapping generations



Minimization of the average coancestry in a population has been theoretically proven to be the most efficient method to preserve genetic diversity. In the present study, based on a population genetic model, two methods to minimize the average coancestry in populations with overlapping generations were developed. For a given parental coancestry structure, the first method (OG) minimizes the average coancestry in the next generation, and the second method (LT) is designed to minimize the long-term accumulation of coancestry. The efficiencies of the two methods were examined by stochastic simulation. Compared to random choice of parents, the annual effective population sizes under the two proposed methods increased 2–3 folds. The difference among the two methods was small in a population with short generation interval. For populations with long generation intervals, the OG method showed a slightly larger annual effective size in an initial few years. However, in the subsequent years, the LT method gave a 5–15% larger annual effective size than the OG method. From these results, it is suggested that the LT method would be preferred to the OG method in most practical situations.

Key words:

coancestry effective population size genetic diversity overlapping generations 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



I am grateful to Richard Frankham and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. This work was supported in part by the Grants-in-Aid for scientific research (No. 14560241 and 15658076) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


  1. Ballou JD, Lacy RC (1995) Identifying genetically important individuals for management of genetic diversity in captive populations. In: Ballou JD, Gilpin M, Foose TJ, (eds) Population Management for Survival and Recovery. Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 76–111Google Scholar
  2. Caballero A, Toro MA (2000) Interrelations between effective population size and other pedigree tools for the management of conserved populations. Genet. Res. 75: 331–343CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Caballero A, Toro MA (2002) Analysis of genetic diversity for the management of conserved subdivided populations. Conserv. Genet. 3: 289–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fernández J, Caballero A (2001) A comparison of management strategies for conservation with regard to population fitness. Conserv. Genet. 2: 121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fernández J, Toro MA (1999) The use of mathematical programming to control inbreeding in selection schemes. J. Anim. Breed. Genet. 116: 447–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fisher RA (1958) The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Dover Publications, Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Frankham R, Ballou JD, Briscoe DA (2002) Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Grundy B, Villanueva B, Woolliams JA (2000) Dynamic selection for maximizing response with constrained inbreeding in schemes with overlapping generations. Anim. Sci. 70: 373–382Google Scholar
  9. Hill WG (1974) Prediction and evaluation of response to selection with overlapping generations. Anim. Prod. 18: 117–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnson DL (1977) Inbreeding in populations with overlapping generations. Genetics 87: 581–591PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Meuwissen THE (1997) Maximizing the response of selection with a predefined rate of inbreeding. J. Anim. Sci. 75:934–940PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Meuwissen THE, Sonesson AK (1998) Maximizing the response of selection with a predefined rate of inbreeding: Overlapping generations. J. Anim. Sci. 76: 2575–2583PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Press WH, Teukolsky SA, Vetterling WT, Flannery BP (1992) Numerical Recipes in FORTRAN. 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  14. Sonesson AK, Meuwissen THE (2000) Mating schemes for optimum contribution selection with constrained rates of inbreeding. Genet. Sel. Evol. 32: 231–248CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Sonesson AK, Meuwissen THE (2001) Minimization of rate of inbreeding for small populations with overlapping generations. Genet. Res. 77:285–292CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Sonesson AK, Meuwissen THE (2002) Non-random mating for selection with restricted rates of inbreeding and overlapping generations. Genet. Sel. Evol. 34: 23–39CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Sonesson AK, Grundy B, Woolliams JA, Meuwissen THE (2000) Selection with control of inbreeding in populations with overlapping generations: a comparison of methods. Anim. Sci. 70:1–8Google Scholar
  18. Toro MA, Barragán C, Óvilo C, Rodrigañez J, Rodriguez C, Silió L (2002) Estimation of coancestry in Iberian pigs using molecular markers. Conserv. Genet. 3: 309–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Toro MA, Nieto B, Salgado C (1988) A note on minimization of inbreeding in small-scale selection programmes. Liv. Prod. Sci. 20:3171–3173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Toro MA, Silió L, Rodríguez MC, Rodrigánez J, Fernández J (1999) Optimal use of genetic markers in conservation programmes. Genet. Sel. Evol. 31:255–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of EngineeringKyoto Sangyo UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations