Meta-analytic evidence that animals rarely avoid inbreeding.

  title={Meta-analytic evidence that animals rarely avoid inbreeding.},
  author={Ra{\"i}ssa A. de Boer and Regina Vega‐Trejo and Alexander Kotrschal and John L. Fitzpatrick},
  journal={Nature ecology \& evolution},
Animals are usually expected to avoid mating with relatives (kin avoidance) as incestuous mating can lead to the expression of inbreeding depression. Yet, theoretical models predict that unbiased mating with regards to kinship should be common, and that under some conditions, the inclusive fitness benefits associated with inbreeding can even lead to a preference for mating with kin. This mismatch between empirical and theoretical expectations generates uncertainty as to the prevalence of… 

Why don't all animals avoid inbreeding?

Results help explain why some species seem to care more about inbreeding than others: inbreeding avoidance through mate choice only evolves when there is both a risk of inbreeding depression and related sexual partners frequently encounter each other.

Mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance in a wild primate

It is found that death and dispersal are very effective at separating opposite-sex pairs of close adult kin in the baboons of the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya, and strong evidence for inbreeding avoidance via mate choice in kin classes with relatedness ≥0.25 is found.

Sex‐specific inbreeding depression: A meta‐analysis

The need to further explore inbreeding depression across different species to determine the occurrence and causes of sex differences to increase the understanding of the evolutionary consequences of sex‐specific inbreeding depressed remains enigmatic.

Evidence of low within‐pair genetic relatedness in a relict population of Thorn‐tailed Rayadito despite long‐term isolation

Investigating whether mating patterns are biased in relation to kinship in isolated populations can provide a better understanding of the occurrence of inbreeding avoidance mechanisms in wild populations, and hypothesize that female‐biased dispersal is the main mechanism reducing the likelihood of mating among kin.

Patterns of sex-biased dispersal are consistent with social and ecological constraints in a group-living cichlid fish

The results indicate female-biased dispersal in N. multifasciatus, a highly-social, shell-dwelling cichlid fish endemic to Lake Tanganyika, East Africa, and highlights how the spatial distribution of suitable dispersal destinations can influence the movement decisions of animals.

Disassociation of social and sexual partner relationships in a gibbon population with stable one‐male two‐female groups

The results indicate that long‐term social partners are often distinct from sexual partners in this population of crested gibbons, indicating a need for integrating long-term behavioral data and genetic research to re‐evaluate gibbon social and sexual relationships derived from concepts of monogamy and pair‐bonding.

Short and long-term costs of inbreeding in the lifelong-partnership in a termite

The cost of inbreeding in incipient colonies favors outbred colonies reaching maturity and shows faster growth in inbred colonies with low levels of microbial load, revealing a potential tradeoff between pathogen defense and offspring production.

A novel framework for evaluating in situ breeding management strategies in endangered populations

An analytical framework that uses in silico simulations to evaluate the degree of population‐level inbreeding avoidance, the genetic quality of mating pairs, and the potential genetic benefits of implementing two breeding management strategies for the Critically Endangered helmeted honeyeater population is provided.



Opposition to Inbreeding Between Close Kin Reflects Inclusive Fitness Costs

It is found that human motivations to avoid inbreeding closely track the theoretical costs of inbreeding as predicted by inclusive fitness theory and that psychological inbreeding avoidance mechanisms extend beyond self-regulation.


  • M. Puurtinen
  • Biology, Psychology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2011
The stable level of inbreeding that maximizes inclusive fitness, and is expected to evolve by natural selection, is shown to be less than previous theory suggests.

Mating with a kin decreases female remating interval: a possible example of inbreeding avoidance

Impact of inbreeding in the nuptial gift-giving green-veined white butterfly, Pieris napi, is explored and incest-induced shift in the phenotype towards the adaptive peak may contribute to the evolution of female mating rates, although alternative explanations for polyandry besides material benefits have rarely been invoked.

Evolution of Inbreeding Avoidance and Inbreeding Preference through Mate Choice among Interacting Relatives

While selection sometimes favored alleles underlying inbreeding avoidance or preference, evolution of such strategies may be much more restricted and stochastic than is commonly presumed.

Risk of inbreeding: problem of mate choice and fitness effects?

The results show that primiparous females in post-partum oestrus mated preferably with a dominant male, and how inbreeding affects the field populations created either from inbred or outbred individuals is shown.

Revisiting the evidence for inbreeding avoidance in zebra finches

It is suggested that zebra finches avoid inbreeding only if birds can keep track of their kin, and is discussed implications for the design of follow-up studies.

Evidence for inbreeding depression in a species with limited opportunity for maternal effects

It is suggested that due to limited potential for maternal effects to influence these traits that any reduction in offspring fitness, or lack thereof, can be explained by inbreeding depression rather than by maternal effects.

Genetic similarity between mates predicts extrapair paternity—a meta-analysis of bird studies

A positive relationship between the occurrence of EPP and the relatedness of social mates is found and it is found that the type of molecular markers used to estimate relatedness significantly affected the observed effect size.