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Prediction of the minimum effective size of a population viable in the long term

Perez-Pereira, Noelia; Wang, Jinliang; Quesada, Humberto; Caballero, Armando; (2022) Prediction of the minimum effective size of a population viable in the long term. Biodiversity and Conservation , 31 pp. 2763-2780. 10.1007/s10531-022-02456-z. Green open access

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Abstract

The establishment of the minimum size for a viable population (MVP) has been used as a guidance in conservation practice to determine the extinction risks of populations and species. A consensus MVP rule of 50/500 individuals has been attained, according to which a minimum effective population size of Ne = 50 is needed to avoid extinction due to inbreeding depression in the short term, and of Ne = 500 to survive in the long term. However, the large inbreeding loads (B) usually found in nature, as well as the consideration of selection affecting genetic diversity, have led to a suggestion that those numbers should be doubled (100/1000). Purging of deleterious mutations can also be a main factor affecting the suggested rules. In a previous simulation study, the reduction of B by the action of purging pointed towards an MVP intermediate between the two rules for short term survival. Here, we focused on the consequences of purging in the establishment of MVPs for long term survival. We performed computer simulations of populations under the action of purging, drift, new mutation, and environmental effects on fitness to investigate the extinction times and the loss of genetic diversity for a range of effective population sizes. Our results indicate that purging can reduce the MVP needed for a population to persist in the long term, with estimates close to Ne = 500 for species with moderately large reproductive rates. However, MVP values appear to be of at least Ne = 1000 when the species´ reproductive rates are low.

Type: Article
Title: Prediction of the minimum effective size of a population viable in the long term
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-022-02456-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-022-02456-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Efective population size, Inbreeding depression, Genetic purging, Inbreeding load, Extinction risk
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155469
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