Population genetics meets behavioral ecology

Derrick W. Sugg, Ronald K. Chesser, F. Stephen Dobson, John L. Hoogland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


Populations are often composed of more than just randomly mating subpopulations -many organisms form social groups with distinct patterns of mating and dispersal. Such patterns have received much attention in behavioral ecology, yet theories of population genetics rarely take social structures into account. Consequently, population geneticists often report high levels of apparent inbreeding and concomitantly low effective sizes, even for species that avoid mating between close kin. Recently, a view of gene dynamics has been introduced that takes dispersal and social structure into account. Accounting for social structure in population genetics leads to a different perspective on how genetic variation is partitioned and the rate at which genic diversity is lost in natural populations - a view that is more consistent with observed behaviors for the minimization of inbreeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-342
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1996


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