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Allard's argument versus Baker's contention for the adaptive significance of selfing in a hermaphroditic fish.


Fertilization assurance (Baker's contention) and multilocus coadaptation (Allard's argument) are two distinct hypotheses for the adaptive significance of self-fertilization in hermaphroditic taxa, and both scenarios have been invoked to rationalize isogenicity via incest in various plants and invertebrate animals with predominant selfing. Here we contrast Allard's argument and Baker's contention as applied to the world's only known vertebrate that routinely self-fertilizes. We pay special attention to frequencies of locally most common multilocus genotypes in Floridian populations of the Mangrove Rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus). Isogenicity patterns in this fish appear inconsistent with Allard's argument, thus leaving Baker's contention as the more plausible scenario (a result also supported by natural history information for this species). These results contrast with the isogenicity patterns and conclusions previously drawn from several self-fertilizing plants and invertebrate animal species. Thus, the adaptive significance of selfing apparently varies across hermaphroditic taxa.

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