Evol Ecol Res 10: 1201-1216 (2008)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Comparison of two methods for analysing the biological factors contributing to assortative mating or sexual isolation

Andrés Pérez-Figueroa1, Jacobo de Uña-Alvarez2, Paula Conde-Padín1 and Emilio Rolán-Alvarez1

1Departamento de Bioquímica, Genética e Immunologia, Facultad de Biología and  2Departamento do Estadística e Investigación Operativa, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo, Spain

Correspondence: E. Rolán-Alvarez, Departamento de Bioquímica, Genética e Immunologia, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Vigo, 36200 Vigo, Spain.
e-mail: rolan@uvigo.es


Question: How can we establish the biological factors that contribute to variation in assortative mating (based on a quantitative or qualitative trait)?

Key assumptions: Assortative (or disassortative) mating for a particular trait can produce sexual isolation between ecotypes or incipient species. The individual contribution to population assortative mating for a quantitative trait can be estimated by means of the ri statistic, which is an additive decomposition of the Pearson correlation coefficient. The mating pair contribution to population sexual isolation can be estimated by the PSI coefficient. These statistics can be used to quantify the variability in assortative mating/sexual isolation in a particular population.

Search method: It was recently proposed that both the ri statistic and the PSI coefficient could be used as dependent variables in a multiple regression approach to determine which of a set of independent variables explains the greatest variation in the dependent variable. We describe both statistics and undertake simulations to compare the efficiency of each statistic to infer assortative mating when it is caused a priori by a mate choice decision based on a quantitative or a qualitative trait.

Conclusions: The ri statistic outperforms the PSI coefficient when trying to infer the causes of both assortative mating and sexual isolation. The applicability of both methods to other cases is discussed.

Keywords: estimation properties, incipient speciation, mate choice, mate discrimination, mating behaviour, regression, speciation.

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        © 2008 Emilio Rolán-Alvarez. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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