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For Some Species, An Upside To Inbreeding

Date:
February 6, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Although breeding between close kin is thought to be generally unfavorable from an evolutionary standpoint, in part because harmful mutations are more easily propagated through populations in this way, theory predicts that under some circumstances, the benefits of inbreeding may outweigh the costs. Researchers have now reported real-life evidence in support of this theory.

Although breeding between close kin is thought to be generally unfavorable from an evolutionary standpoint, in part because harmful mutations are more easily propagated through populations in this way, theory predicts that under some circumstances, the benefits of inbreeding may outweigh the costs.

Researchers have now reported real-life evidence in support of this theory. Studying an African chiclid fish species, Pelvicachromis taetiatus, in which both parents participate in brood care, the researchers found that individuals preferred mating with unfamiliar close kin rather than non-kin.

Because parental work is energetically costly, and kinship generally favors cooperation, one possible explanation for kin preference in breeding in this species is that it offers a benefit by facilitating parental cooperation. And indeed, observations of behavior exhibited by this chiclid species showed that related parents were more cooperative and invested more resources in parenting than did non-related parents.

Together, the findings suggest that, somewhat unusually, active inbreeding is advantageous in this fish species. The findings, reported by Timo Thünken and colleagues of the University of Bonn, appear in the February 6th issue of Current Biology.

The researchers include: Timo Thünken, Theo C.M. Bakker, Sebastian A. Baldauf, and Harald Kullmann of the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany. The work was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (Ba 2885/2-1).

Thünken et al.: "Active Inbreeding in a Cichlid Fish and Its Adaptive Significance". Publishing in Current Biology 17, 225--229, February 6, 2007 DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2006.11.053. http://www.current-biology.com


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The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Cell Press. "For Some Species, An Upside To Inbreeding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070205132431.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, February 6). For Some Species, An Upside To Inbreeding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070205132431.htm
Cell Press. "For Some Species, An Upside To Inbreeding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070205132431.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

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