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.

Related Articles


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 February 1, 2015 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 February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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