Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foxes Get Frisky In The Far North: First Genetic Evidence Of Polyandry With Multiple Paternity Found

Date:
July 19, 2007
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Scientists have gathered DNA evidence from adult foxes and their offspring, that proves that some arctic foxes are mixing it up when it comes to mating. From polyandry to multiple paternity and plural breeding, foxes once thought to be monogamous are proving to be quite frisky.

Researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Quebec at Rimouski collected DNA samples from arctic foxes on Bylot Island, Nunavut, and found evidence of frisky business.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta

Bees do it, chimps do it... Now it seems Arctic foxes do it, too. New research looking at the DNA fingerprints of canids in the Far North has revealed that foxes once thought to be monogamous are in fact quite frisky.

From polyandry to multiple paternity and plural breeding, Canadian researchers have gathered DNA evidence from adult foxes and their offspring that proves that some arctic foxes are mixing it up when it comes to mating.

Until recently, wildlife biologists considered many species of canines--including foxes, wolves and coyotes--to be monogamous. But molecular genetic techniques are starting to reveal complexities in mammalian mating systems that were not apparent from observational studies of animal social behavior. Using a technique called microsatellite DNA fingerprinting, a team of researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton and the University of Quebec at Rimouski collected DNA samples from 49 arctic foxes trapped in dens on Bylot Island, Nunavut.

In three-quarters of the dens, DNA fingerprints showed that the fox cubs were the offspring of a single male and female. But in a quarter of the cases, the arctic foxes proved to be less exclusive, with one litter providing the first genetic evidence of polyandry (females having multiple male mates at one time) with multiple paternity.

Lindsey Carmichael--lead author of the study and a recent graduate from the U of A--says there are various explanations for polyandry and the multiple paternity associated with it.

"Multiple paternity allows a female to increase the genetic variation contained in a single season's reproductive output," says Carmichael. "This increase in variation might improve the odds that at least one cub in a litter will be optimally adapted to its current environment or better equipped to deal with changes in its environment over time."

The study appears in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Zoology.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Foxes Get Frisky In The Far North: First Genetic Evidence Of Polyandry With Multiple Paternity Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718001620.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2007, July 19). Foxes Get Frisky In The Far North: First Genetic Evidence Of Polyandry With Multiple Paternity Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718001620.htm
University of Alberta. "Foxes Get Frisky In The Far North: First Genetic Evidence Of Polyandry With Multiple Paternity Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070718001620.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins