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Monday, March 01, 2010

Coffee!! Just because I don’t feel like going back to work just yet ...

Apparently, according to an article in Current Biology,
Polyandry [a girl is married to a bunch of guys] can regulate the frequency of a sex-ratio-distorting meiotic driver This can prevent extinction in populations and potentially species Reduced extinction risk may help explain why polyandry is so widespread in nature
I hold no brief for fruit flies, the article's interest, but in humans, polyandry is almost always a result of extreme hardship.

I am told that in former times, polyandry sometimes happened in the Far North in Canada. Due to famine, girl babies mysteriously found their way through a hole in the pack ice.

Whodathunkit? ... and 15 years later ...

Most human cultures think marriage should be Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

But very, very few human cultures have EVER thought that marriage should be Adam, Louie, Luigi, Sig, Syed, and ... here comes the bride!! here comes the bride!! ... one little Eve for the lot of them.

Try selling that in the locker room ... so long as you do not share a health insurer with me.

Anyway, here’s the official stuff:

Current Biology, 25 February 2010 Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(10)00139-9

Polyandry Prevents Extinction

Tom A.R. Price,Greg D.D. Hurst,Nina Wedell

Highlights

Polyandry can regulate the frequency of a sex-ratio-distorting meiotic driver This can prevent extinction in populations and potentially species Reduced extinction risk may help explain why polyandry is so widespread in nature

Summary

Females of most animal species are polyandrous, with individual females usually mating with more than one male [1, 2,1, 2]. However, the ubiquity of polyandry remains enigmatic [3, 4,3, 4] because of the potentially high costs to females of multiple mating [5, 6,5, 6]. Current theory to account for the high prevalence of polyandry largely focuses on its benefits to individual females [7, 8,7, 8]. There are also higher-level explanations for the high incidence of polyandry—polyandrous clades may speciate more rapidly [6]. Here we test the hypothesis that polyandry may also reduce population extinction risk. We demonstrate that mating with multiple males protects populations of the fruit fly Drosophila pseudoobscuraagainst extinction caused by a “selfish” sex-ratio-distorting element. Thus, the frequency of female multiple mating in nature may be associated not only with individual benefits to females of this behavior but also with increased persistence over time of polyandrous species and populations. Furthermore, we show that female remating behavior can determine the frequency of sex-ratio distorters in populations. This may also be true for many other selfish genetic elements in natural populations.

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