Prugnolle F, De Meeus T. Inferring sex-biased dispersal from population genetic tools: a review. Heredity 88: 161-165

French National Centre for Scientific Research, Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
Heredity (Impact Factor: 3.81). 04/2002; 88(3):161-5. DOI: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800060
Source: PubMed


Sex-biased dispersal, where individuals of one sex stay or return to their natal site (or group) to breed while individuals of the other sex are prone to disperse, is a wide-spread pattern in vertebrate organisms. In general, mammals exhibit male-biased dispersal whereas birds exhibit female-bias. Dispersal estimates are often difficult to obtain from direct field observations. Here we describe different methods for inferring sex-specific dispersal using population genetic tools and discuss the problems they can raise. We distinguish two types of methods: those based on bi-parental markers (eg comparison of male/female relatedness, F(st) and assignment probabilities) and those relying on the comparison between markers with different modes of inheritance (eg mtDNA markers and microsatellites). Finally, we discuss statistical problems that are encountered with these different methods (eg pseudoreplication, problems due to the comparison of distinct markers). While the genetic methods to detect sex-biased dispersal are now relatively well developed, their interpretation can prove problematic due to the confounding effects of factors such as the mating system of the species. Moreover, the relative power of these methods is not well known and requires further investigation.

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    • "The persistence of different mtDNA lineages at both areas in the Iberian Peninsula supports a low interchange of individuals between both Iberian refugia since the last glacial maximum. Because of mtDNA is only inherited from females, interchange of haplotypes between populations can only be effective with female dispersal (see Prugnolle andde Meeus 2002). In natural populations , red deer has a male-biased dispersal in which females normally remain in the areas where they were born (Clutton-Brock et al. 1982;P erez-Gonz alez and Carranza 2009). "
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    • "For mammals, inbreeding avoidance may represent the most important adaptive advantage of sex-biased dispersal (Pusey and Wolf 1996; Biek et al. 2006). Most solitary mammals exhibit differential dispersal patterns for both sexes, where females are philopatric and males disperse from their natal area and establish permanent residence in a new home range to reproduce (Waser and Jones 1983; Prugnolle and de Meeus 2002; Ratnayeke et al. 2002; Moyer et al. 2006). Sex-biased dispersal is often hypothesized to be a means of avoiding inbreeding (Wolff 1993; Costello et al. 2008). "
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    • "However, this structuring of mtDNA may only be the result of red deer female philopatry (Skog et al. 2009) and potentially reveals little about wider genetic structuring. The dispersion of red deer males is higher (Albon and Langvatn 1992) and in species with male-biased dispersal, postglacial recolonization patterns typically differ when nuclear DNA markers are included (Waits et al. 2000; Prugnolle and de Meeűs 2002). Microsatellites are popular markers for the study of geographical structure and gene flow because of their high levels of polymorphism and biparental inheritance in a Mendelian fashion (Jarne and Lagoda 1996). "
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