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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Overcompensation as a mechanism for maintaining polymorphism: egg-to-adult viability in Drosophila.

  • Author(s): Milosević, M
  • Moya, A
  • Ayala, FJ
  • et al.

Frequency-dependent selection may be accounted for, in ecological terms, by the differential effectiveness of alternative genotypes in exploiting limiting environmental resources. Differentiation in resource exploitation among genotypes implies in turn that a mix of genotypes may exploit more fully the resources than a genetically uniform population, a phenomenon called 'overcompensation'. Experiments designed to test for overcompensation show that highly polymorphic populations can support larger numbers of individuals per food unit than less polymorphic populations. This difference cannot be attributed to the level of individual heterozygosity, which is the same in both types of populations.

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