Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why Beavers Survived In The 19th Century

15.10.2004


Russian scientists give an explanation for the wonder of beaver survival throughout the 19th century, when these animals were badly endangered and lived in conditions that would be fatal for another mammalian species.



A population of beavers can survive, if it includes only three animals living together. Such a small size of viable population is explained by the genetic adaptation of beavers to inbreeding. Beaver genome and behaviour account for an outstanding viability of this species, as is established by A.N. Milishnikov and his colleagues from the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow.

Beavers have a rather puritan character: as distinct from other mammalian species, they don’t give way to promiscuity, but live as couples and even families. Several families make up a settlement (colony) that is a larger society of beavers. However, families maintain their genetic isolation and do not interbreed. Each family resides within a certain area of a river and bank, where the others cannot enter (trespassers are severely punished).


In every family, only one couple breeds, and their offspring stay with them for a long while and don’t breed. Young beavers can make up a couple once they find a suitable place on the river for their own family lodge. Obviously, beavers possess a huge reserve of genetic diversity in order to avoid the negative consequences of inbreeding.

Russian scientists have revealed that genetic differences between beavers within the same colony are stronger than those between representatives of different colonies. A beaver chooses a mate not haphazardly. This was for the first time discovered in the course of captive breeding, which was rather unsuccessful: most animals refused to mate and behaved aggressively to each other.

Only very few couples were happy and lived together for many years. The scientists do not yet know how beavers choose their mates. Apparently, it is somehow connected with the need to avoid genetic similarity.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht The oceans can’t take any more
03.07.2015 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Improved veterinary service for livestock is significant for leopard conservation
02.07.2015 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.

The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...

Im Focus: X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions

A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...

Im Focus: Iron: A biological element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...

Im Focus: Thousands of Droplets for Diagnostics

Researchers develop new method enabling DNA molecules to be counted in just 30 minutes

A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...

Im Focus: Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

Patients using Argus II experienced significant improvement in visual function and quality of life

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June

16.06.2015 | Event News

MUSE hosting Europe’s largest science communication conference

11.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Siemens receives order for offshore wind power plant in Great Britain

03.07.2015 | Press release

'Déjà vu all over again:' Research shows 'mulch fungus' causes turfgrass disease

03.07.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Discovery points to a new path toward a universal flu vaccine

03.07.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>