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Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal.

Nichols, HJ, Cant, MA, Hoffman, JI and Sanderson, JL (2014) Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters, 10 (12). ISSN 1744-957X

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As breeding between relatives often results in inbreeding depression, inbreeding avoidance is widespread in the animal kingdom. However, inbreeding avoidance may entail fitness costs. For example, dispersal away from relatives may reduce survival. How these conflicting selection pressures are resolved is challenging to investigate, but theoretical models predict that inbreeding should occur frequently in some systems. Despite this, few studies have found evidence of regular incest in mammals, even in social species where relatives are spatio-temporally clustered and opportunities for inbreeding frequently arise. We used genetic parentage assignments together with relatedness data to quantify inbreeding rates in a wild population of banded mongooses, a cooperatively breeding carnivore. We show that females regularly conceive to close relatives, including fathers and brothers. We suggest that the costs of inbreeding avoidance may sometimes outweigh the benefits, even in cooperatively breeding species where strong within-group incest avoidance is considered to be the norm.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Royal Society, The
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Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2015 09:32
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:07
DOI or ID number: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0898
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1727

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