Proc. Biol. Sci. 288 (1958) 20203223 [2021-09-08; online 2021-09-01]
Balancing selection is one of the mechanisms which has been proposed to explain the maintenance of genetic diversity in species across generations. For species with large populations and complex life histories, however, heterogeneous selection pressures may create a scenario in which the net effects of selection are balanced across developmental stages. With replicated cultures and a pooled sequencing approach, we show that genotype-dependent mortality in larvae of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is largely temporally dynamic and inconsistently in favour of a single genotype or allelic variant at each locus. Overall, the patterns of genetic change we observe to be taking place are more complex than what would be expected under classical examples of additive or dominant genetic interactions. They are also not easily explained by our current understanding of the effects of genetic load. Collectively, temporally heterogeneous selection pressures across different larval developmental stages may act to maintain genetic diversity, while also inherently sheltering genetic load within oyster populations.