Genetic sex determination and extinction

Philip W. Hedrick, Juergen Gadau, Robert Page

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

30 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-57
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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