Background: Inbreeding mating has been widely accepted as the key mechanism to enhance homozygosity which normally will decrease the fitness of the population. Although this result has been validated by a large amount of biological data from the natural populations, a mathematical proof of these experimental discoveries is still not complete. A related question is whether we can extend the well-established result regarding the mean fitness from a randomly mating population to inbreeding populations. A confirmative answer may provide insights into the frequent occurrence of self-fertilization populations.
Results: This work presents a theoretic proof of the result that, for a large inbreeding population with directional relative genotype fitness, the mean fitness of population increases monotonically. However, it cannot be extended to the case with over-dominant genotype fitness. In addition, by employing multiplicative intersection hypothesis, we prove that inbreeding mating does decrease the mean fitness of polygenic population in general, but does not decrease the mean fitness with mixed dominant-recessive genotypes. We also prove a novel result that inbreeding depression depends on not only the mating pattern but also genetic structure of population.
Conclusions: For natural inbreeding populations without serious inbreeding depression, our theoretical analysis suggests the majority of its genotypes should be additive or dominant-recessive genotypes. This result gives a reason to explain why many hermaphroditism populations do not show severe inbreeding depression. In addition, the calculated purging rate shows that inbreeding mating purges the deleterious mutants more efficiently than randomly mating does.