Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Name Niskanen, Alina
Organisation OY
Project title
Inbreeding depression in nature - the genetic architecture, environment and immunity
Decision No. 295204
Decision date 24.05.2016
Funding period 01.09.2016 - 31.08.2019
Funding 261 068
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
Small populations are exposed to inbreeding that may threaten their survival via inbreeding depression, i.e., reduced individual reproductive success and survival. In this project, I examined the effects of inbreeding in wild house sparrow populations by using unique long-term data on fitness and genome-wide high-density genotypes. I also investigated the interaction between inbreeding depression and environmental conditions, and immune gene diversity. As a main result I found consistent negative effects of inbreeding across the study populations and years. Against theoretical expectations, population size or habitat quality did not affect the severity of inbreeding depression. However, since small populations were on average more inbred, they also suffered the most dramatic relative effects of inbreeding in terms of loss of fitness. These results have implications in conservation decisions and highlight the importance of avoiding inbreeding to maintain populations' viability.