Report

Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding Cause a Rapid, Cumulative Fitness Decline in the Wild

Science  05 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5847, pp. 100-103
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145621

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Abstract

Captive breeding is used to supplement populations of many species that are declining in the wild. The suitability of and long-term species survival from such programs remain largely untested, however. We measured lifetime reproductive success of the first two generations of steelhead trout that were reared in captivity and bred in the wild after they were released. By reconstructing a three-generation pedigree with microsatellite markers, we show that genetic effects of domestication reduce subsequent reproductive capabilities by ∼40% per captive-reared generation when fish are moved to natural environments. These results suggest that even a few generations of domestication may have negative effects on natural reproduction in the wild and that the repeated use of captive-reared parents to supplement wild populations should be carefully reconsidered.

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