Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2007

Publication Source

Evolutionary Ecology Research

Volume

9

Issue

5

Start Page

855

Last Page

868

Abstract

Question: How well are genetic benefits hypotheses for extra-pair paternity supported by empirical evidence?

Data incorporated: Almost all published studies testing for genetic benefits from 1980 onwards (121 papers, 55 species).

Analysis methods: Collected key features and findings of each study in a database. Determined overall level of support for both good genes and compatible genes hypotheses. Conducted a formal meta-analysis on a subset of studies asking the following questions: (1) Do extra-pair mates of females have different phenotypes than their within-pair mates? (2) Do extra-pair offspring differ in viability from within-pair offspring? (3) Is there a correlation between the genetic similarity of a social pair and the incidence of extra-pair paternity?

Results: Both the good genes and compatible genes hypotheses failed to be supported in more than half of the species studied. The meta-analysis shows that extra-pair males are on average larger and older than within-pair males, but not different in terms of secondary sexual traits, condition or relatedness to the female. No difference was found between extra-pair and within-pair young in survival to the next breeding season. We found no significant correlation between pair genetic similarity and extra-pair paternity.

Conclusions: Genetic benefits are not strongly supported by available empirical data. New hypotheses are needed.

Comments

At the time of publication, author Erol Akçay was affiliated with Stanford University. Currently, he is a faculty member at the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Share

COinS
 

Date Posted: 02 October 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.