The notion of sharing your grandmother’s new sexual partner might seem unappealing to us, but a study of wild greater horseshoe bats reveals that female relatives regularly share male mates, yet nearly always avoid their blood relatives.
The study, published in this week’s Nature, was led by Dr Stephen Rossiter as part of a long-term collaboration between scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Bristol. The study used genetic analysis to look at breeding patterns over 10 years in a colony of around 40 greater horseshoe bats, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, one of Britain’s rarest bats, from Gloucestershire.
The team, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, found that while a female might mate with the same male as her grandmother, she won’t mate with her own grandfather. As you might expect, things quickly get very confusing, for example, the study revealed several cases in which a female and her maternal half-aunt were also half-sisters on their father’s side!
Owen Gaffney | alfa
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
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For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
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