Inbreeding: Its effect on response to selection for pupal weight and the heritable variance in fitness in the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum

Michael J. Wade, Stephen M. Shuster, Lori Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


We report our studies of the effect of inbreeding on the response to selection for increased pupal weight in the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. We also report the effects of inbreeding and selection for pupal weight on the heritable variation in fitness and fitness components. We created replicate and independent inbred lines with F-values of 0.00, 0.375, and 0.672, by 0, 2, and 5 generations, respectively, of brother-sister mating of adult beetles from an outbred stock population. Subsequently, we imposed artificial within-family selection for increased pupal weight in each of 15 inbred lines for eight generations; each line had its own paired, unselected control. We compared the response to selection across the three levels of inbreeding with theoretical expectation, and investigated the effects of inbreeding and selection on fitness variation among families within all 30 selected and control lines. Among-line variation in pupal weight increased with increased inbreeding prior to selection but diminished with directional selection. Inbreeding reduced the realized heritability of pupal weight concordant with quantitative predictions of additive theory. Mean fitness, measured in several ways, declined with inbreeding and declined further with selection. In contrast, the genetic variation for fitness in the inbred and selected lines lines equalled or exceeded that of the outbred controls. Our results suggest that inbreeding and selection may affect traits in different ways depending on the relative amounts of additive and nonadditive genetic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-733
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996



  • Additive genetic variance
  • Fitness effects
  • Inbreeding
  • Nonadditive genetic variance
  • Realized heritability
  • Selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this