Genetic factors can affect the probability of extinction either by increasing the effect of detrimental variants or by decreasing the potential for future adaptive responses. In a recent paper, Zayed and Packer demonstrate that low variation at a specific locus, the complementary sex determination (csd) locus in Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps), can result in a sharply increased probability of extinction. Their findings illustrate situations in which there is a feedback process between decreased genetic variation at the csd locus owing to genetic drift and decreased population growth, resulting in an extreme type of extinction vortex for these ecologically important organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics