Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scent signals stop incest in lemurs

Date:
December 7, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Chemical identifiers secreted from the genital glands of lemurs, allow them to avoid incest and also to engage in nepotism. Researchers have identified the smells used by both male and female ring-tailed lemurs to advertise their family ties.

A scent-marking lemur.
Credit: Boulet et al., BMS Evolutionary Biology / Image courtesy of BioMed Central

Chemical identifiers secreted from the genital glands of lemurs, allow them to avoid incest and also to engage in nepotism. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have identified the smells used by both male and female ring-tailed lemurs to advertize their family ties.

Christine Drea from Duke University, North Carolina, USA, worked with Marylθne Boulet and Marie Charpentier from the same university to study the primate's scent secretions. She said, "We sampled 17 sexually mature females throughout the year, during the extended nonbreeding season and the relatively limited breeding season, and compared this information with data on 19 males that was taken from a previous study. By integrating genetic and biochemical data, we provide the first molecular evidence that the scent secretions expressed by the genital glands of male and female lemurs contain markers of relatedness within and between the sexes."

The scents released during the competitive breeding season were more similar between relatives than nonrelatives, leading the researchers to speculate that these markers encode information that is particularly relevant to avoid inbreeding with unfamiliar kin. The weaker signals of genetic relatedness existing throughout the year might also be useful in facilitating nepotism between family members.

According to Drea, "Consistent with the scent secretions of other mammals, the genital secretions of lemurs are extremely complex and encode multiple messages. It will be interesting to find out what other messages are being transmitted by this fascinating form of communication."


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. Marylene Boulet, Marie JE Charpentier and Christine M Drea. Decoding an olfactory mechanism of kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance in a primate. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2009; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Scent signals stop incest in lemurs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202205625.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, December 7). Scent signals stop incest in lemurs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202205625.htm
BioMed Central. "Scent signals stop incest in lemurs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202205625.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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