Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modern man found to be generally monogamous, moderately polygamous

Date:
March 3, 2010
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
New research has found that modern man, or Homo sapiens, would have been monogamous while exhibiting tendencies toward polygamy over the course of evolutionary history. These findings are consistent with studies in evolutionary psychology and anthropology that depict contemporary human populations.

Did women and men contribute equally to the lineage of contemporary populations? Did our ancestors, Homo sapiens, lean more toward polygamy or monogamy? To answer these questions, Dr. Damian Labuda, an investigator at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and a professor at the Department of Pediatrics of the Université de Montréal, headed a team that analyzed genomic data from three population samples of African, Asian and European origin. The study's findings are published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Genetic Population History

In a strictly monogamous population, one would expect to have an equal number of breeding females and males and, therefore, a breeding sex ratio of one female to one male. In a population where males tend to have more than one female mate, more females than males contribute to reproduction; for this reason the breeding ratio exceeds one. The authors of this study estimate that the breeding ratio varies between 1.1 and 1.4 according to population: 1.1 in Asia, 1.3 in Europe and 1.4 in Africa.

Modern man or Homo sapiens would, therefore, usually have been monogamous while exhibiting tendencies toward polygamy over the course of evolutionary history. These findings are consistent with studies in evolutionary psychology and anthropology that depict contemporary human populations.

An innovative method of analysis

To estimate the breeding sex ratio based on genomic data, the authors developed a novel method to capitalize on how females carry two X chromosomes, whereas males carry only one. Consequently, during the recombination process, X chromosomes can only exchange their genetic information with females.

An excess of breeding women causes an excess of recombination signals in terms of quantifiable X chromosomes. This new method is more reliable than the previous approaches that quantified the breeding ratio using another method. It may be applied to any species for which data on genomic diversity are available.

"Our results allow better understanding of the genetic population structure and demonstrate once more the importance of population genomics in genetic epidemiology. Being able to analyze the female-male ratio in the history of humans provides new insights into the evolution of our species, which, in turn, leads to better understanding of ourselves through the knowledge of our past," says Dr. Labuda.

This study was supported by Génome Québec, Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Labuda et al. Female to male breeding ratio in modern humans -- an analysis based on historical recombinations. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.01.029

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Modern man found to be generally monogamous, moderately polygamous." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302112018.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2010, March 3). Modern man found to be generally monogamous, moderately polygamous. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302112018.htm
University of Montreal. "Modern man found to be generally monogamous, moderately polygamous." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302112018.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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