Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birds With A Nose For A Difference: Avoidance Of Inbreeding In Birds Demonstrated

Date:
June 30, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Avoidance of inbreeding is evident among humans, and has been demonstrated in some shorebirds, mice and sand lizards. Researchers 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.

Two Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) in a territorial squabble. Photographed in the Farne Islands, England.
Credit: iStockphoto/Liz Leyden

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."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hervé Mulard, Etienne Danchin, Sandra L Talbot, Andrew M Ramey, Scott A Hatch, Joël F White, Fabrice Helfenstein and Richard H Wagner. Evidence that pairing with genetically similar mates is maladaptive in a monogamous bird. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2009; [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Birds With A Nose For A Difference: Avoidance Of Inbreeding In Birds Demonstrated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629200636.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, June 30). Birds With A Nose For A Difference: Avoidance Of Inbreeding In Birds Demonstrated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629200636.htm
BioMed Central. "Birds With A Nose For A Difference: Avoidance Of Inbreeding In Birds Demonstrated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629200636.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) — Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. 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