A new study provides support for this idea by looking at lemurs in Madagaskar. Female fat-tailed dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus medius) live in life-long pairs, yet notoriously cheat on their partners to improve the genetic fitness of their offspring. Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin published the study in the journal Evolutionary Ecology (DOI 10.1007/s10682-007-9186-4).
The team headed by Prof. Simone Sommer looked for possible genetic benefits in the obligate pair-living fat-tailed dwarf lemur which maintains life-long pair bonds but has an extremely high rate of extra-pair paternity. Possible mechanisms of female mate choice were investigated by analyzing overall genetic variability as well as a marker of adaptive significance (major histocompatibility complex, MHC-DRB exon 2). MHC-genes determine not only the individual’s immune response but also the individual’s body odour. This holds true for animals as well as for humans.
The study indicated that females preferred males both as social and as genetic fathers for their offspring if they have a higher number of MHC-alleles and MHC-supertypes, a lower overlap with the female’s MHC-supertypes as well as a higher genome-wide heterozygosity than randomly assigned males. This means that females looked for the most genetically different males preferably with a “healthy” set of genes. Mutual relatedness had no influence on mate choice.
Interestingly, females were most likely to cheat on their social partner if he had a higher overlap with the female’s MHC supertype. Extra-pair mates were chosen mostly for their genetic difference, thus maximising the genetic complementarity of sires to the females.
Josef Zens | alfa
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Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
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The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
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A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
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18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy