Female guppies have evolved a clever way to avoid having inbred offspring: Slow down the sperm of closely-related males, a new study in linkurl:The Proceedings of the Royal Society B;http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ reports.
The results are the first direct evidence for a post-mating but pre-zygotic mechanism to avoid producing inbred offspring. It supports the hypothesis that females mate promiscuously as a way to reduce their chances of reproducing with closely related males, the authors report. "It's new and interesting," said linkurl:Bob Montgomerie,;http://www.queensu.ca/biology/people/faculty/montgomerie.html an evolutionary biologist at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, who was not involved in the research. "But it's not unexpected," he added: If females can prevent fertilization by a close relative, they aren't wasting energy forming a zygote that will likely die due to the accumulation of harmful mutations. Researchers have long suspected that polyandry...
linkurl:Image: Wikimedia Commons;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guppy_coppia_gialla.jpg
in vitroGasparini, C., and Pilastro A., "Cryptic female preference for genetically unrelated males is mediated by ovarian fluid in the guppy," Proc. R. Soc. B, doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2369
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