Nav: Home

Inbred animals face greater threat from changes to environment

June 27, 2018

Animals that are inbred make mistakes in response to changes in their surroundings, which threatens their survival, research has found.

A study found that inbred beetles were more likely to make bad decisions amid developing circumstances - at a cost to themselves and their offspring.

The findings could inform conservation programmes and aid the understanding of wild animals, especially where shrinking populations raises the likelihood of inbreeding.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh observed hundreds of female burying beetles as they raised their offspring.

Midway through the experiment, researchers swapped the resource available to each female - a dead mouse on which they feed their young - for another of a different size.

Inbred females whose mouse was swapped for a smaller one failed to adjust their parenting strategy in response, and raised too many young with not enough food.

As a result, their young were smaller and the mother lost weight, meaning all were less likely to breed in future.

Parents that were not inbred responded to a loss of resources by culling some of their young, which would be their natural response in the wild.

The inbred animals' lack of response to changes may be down to impaired thinking ability or lack of sensitivity to their surroundings, suggest researchers.

Previous studies had shown that the effects of being inbred - which can impact on growth, survival, or chances of reproduction - can be worsened by environmental conditions. The latest study shows that bad decision-making by individuals plays a part in this effect.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Jon Richardson, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "The impact of environmental conditions can amplify the effects of being inbred, such as susceptibility to disease or competing for resources. We now know that poor decision-making plays a part in the burden facing inbred animals."

University of Edinburgh

Related Environmental Conditions Articles:

Bathroom scales will inform about life threatening conditions
Weighing oneself has become one of the most common morning rituals.
Modified soybeans yield more in future climate conditions
In a three-year field study, researchers proved engineered soybeans yield more than conventional soybeans in 2050's predicted climatic conditions.
A new way of assessing winter driving conditions and associated risks
A new study, published today in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, presents a risk-based approach for classifying the road surface conditions of a highway network under winter weather events.
Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
Missions at sea, in mountainous regions or close to skyscrapers are extremely risky for helicopter pilots.
Self-healing materials for semi-dry conditions
Self-healing materials work very well if they are soft and wet, but research groups have found that the ability to self-repair diminishes as materials dry out.
'Ask a Doctor' surfaces reliable information about heart conditions
A Google search for heart conditions will now prominently display important questions patients should ask their doctor based on clinical guidelines developed by the American College of Cardiology.
Chemical trail on Titan may be key to prebiotic conditions
Cornell scientists have uncovered a chemical trail that suggests prebiotic conditions may exist on Saturn's moon, Titan.
Development of drugs for local treatment of oral conditions
On June 24, at the 94th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher W.
Lifestyle habits linked to pain conditions already in childhood
Poor physical fitness and sedentary behavior are linked to increased pain conditions in children as young as 6-8 years old, according to the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland.
Medical conditions are more common in women who are sexually abused
Researchers have found that a variety of conditions are more common in women before and after sexual assault.

Related Environmental Conditions Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".