Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fit females make more daughters, mighty males get grandsons

Date:
January 9, 2012
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Females influence the gender of their offspring so they inherit either their mother's or grandfather's qualities. "High-quality" females -- those which produce more offspring -- are more likely to have daughters. Weaker females, whose own fathers were stronger and more successful, produce more sons.

Females influence the gender of their offspring so they inherit either their mother's or grandfather's qualities. 'High-quality' females -- those which produce more offspring -- are more likely to have daughters.

Weaker females, whose own fathers were stronger and more successful, produce more sons.

The study, by scientists at the University of Exeter (UK), Okayama University and Kyushu University (Japan), is published January 9 in the journal Ecology Letters. It shows for the first time that females are able to manipulate the sex of their offspring to compensate for the fact that some of the genes which make a good male make a bad female and vice versa.

The research focuses on the broad-horned flour beetle, Gnatocerus cornutus, but the team believes the findings could apply to other species across the animal kingdom, even mammals.

Male flour beetles with large jaws have the most mating success and win the most fights, so are seen as 'high quality'. However, the muscles and body shape needed to carry the massive jaws mean that large-jawed males father daughters with a more masculine body-shape, less adept at carrying eggs. This means that these successful males father daughters who produce fewer offspring.

Poor-quality females produce more sons who inherit their grandfather's good qualities. Conversely, high-quality daughters, fathered by poor males, produce relatively small-jawed and weak sons, and compensate by producing more female offspring that will inherit their mother's good attributes.

Corresponding author Dr David Hosken of Biosciences at the University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus) said: "Our study shows females are able to bias the sex ratio of their offspring in surprising and subtle ways. These findings shed new light on why some families have lots of sons, while others have mainly daughters. Of course everyone will be interested to know if the study can help explain why this sometimes happens in human families but I'm afraid we can't answer that!"

The broad-horned flour beetle is a well-known pest that feeds on flour and grains, such as porridge and semolina. Around three to four centimetres long and reddish-brown in colour, they live all over the world.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Masako Katsuki, Tomohiro Harano, Takahisa Miyatake, Kensuke Okada, David J. Hosken. Intralocus sexual conflict and offspring sex ratio. Ecology Letters, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01725.x

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Fit females make more daughters, mighty males get grandsons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109102918.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2012, January 9). Fit females make more daughters, mighty males get grandsons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109102918.htm
University of Exeter. "Fit females make more daughters, mighty males get grandsons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109102918.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
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