Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Birds with a nose for a difference

01.07.2009
Avoidance of inbreeding is evident amongst humans, and has been demonstrated in some shorebirds, mice and sand lizards.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology now report that it also occurs in a strictly monogamous species of bird, suggesting that the black-legged kittiwake possesses the ability to choose partners with a very different genetic profile.

The study, led by Richard H. Wagner from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Etienne Danchin from the University Paul Sabatier of Toulouse, and involving researchers from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the Alaska Science Center, and the University of Bern, tracked 10 genetic markers, microsatellite loci, to investigate whether kittiwakes avoid inbreeding by pairing with genetically distant mates, and whether inbreeding reduces the number of chicks they raised.

Most pairs avoid inbreeding more often than expected by chance, suggesting that kittiwakes can somehow tell who their relatives are in a large anonymous population. The minority of closely related pairs produced eggs that were less likely to hatch and chicks that were more likely to die. According to first author Hervé Mulard, "inbreeding is devastating in this population."

Second hatched chicks were particularly badly affected by this phenomenon. Whether because they were less able to fight off infections and parasites or because their parents neglected them, they grew more slowly and were even less likely to survive than their older siblings.

Other studies have shown that polygamous female birds seek out genetically distant partners for mating in order to give their offspring a better and healthier genetic profile. This study provides the first evidence of inbreeding avoidance in a strictly monogamous species, in which both parents contribute to rearing offspring, and divorce is rare.

The team is now studying whether similar to humans, birds might be able to detect a mate's genetic profile from their body odor. Mulard concludes, "this ability could serve strictly monogamous species well, as they may experience the highest selective pressure to choose genetically distant mates."

1. Evidence that pairing with genetically similar mates is maladaptive in a monogamous bird
Hervé Mulard, Etienne Danchin, Sandra L Talbot, Andrew M Ramey, Scott A Hatch, Joël F White, Fabrice Helfenstein and Richard H Wagner

BMC Evolutionary Biology (in press)

2. BMC Evolutionary Biology is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of molecular and non-molecular evolution of all organisms, as well as phylogenetics and palaeontology. BMC Evolutionary Biology (ISSN 1471-2148) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Zoological Record, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar. It has an impact factor of 4.09.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

Charlotte Webber | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>