May 17, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Regardless of their species, males protect it from bad genetic mutations

Regardless of their species, males protect it from bad genetic mutations


  • Although females and males have genetic mutations, the effects of the latter are only felt on the physical condition of the males.
  • This means that in order to eliminate genetic mutations more quickly and efficiently, the vast majority of animal species perform natural selection by males.

In many animal species, including human species, only a few males are sufficient to unite all females and thus ensure the reproduction of generations. Why were they born in a way that could harm women?

Uppsala University (Sweden) researchers give a new answer. In a study published in the Scientific Journal Evolution Letters, They demonstrate that large male populations can eliminate bad genetic mutations from the population. It can have long-term, genetic consequences on sexual choice.

Mutations are present but are not detected in females

In order to carry out their work, the researchers found that in many animal species, intense competition between males to mate leads to the elimination of individuals with many harmful mutations, which prevents transmission. This choice has positive long-term effects on sexually reproducing population growth and sustainability.

They confirmed it using 16 genetic strains of the seed beetle (Colosobruchus maculatus). Their goal is to study how each of these harmful mutations affects the reproductive capacity (fitness) of females and males. Scientists have identified species with high fertility, which has made it possible to calculate the cumulative effects of the unique mutations of each species. By comparing the inbred species with the crosses between them, they were able to see that these mutations cause harm almost equally to females and males. However, the effects of mutations Manifested only in the physical condition of the male. In females, no adverse effects of the mutations they carried were identified in this genetically more variable context. Therefore they cannot be effectively eliminated by female-specific selection in the wild.

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“Although these mutations have a detrimental effect on female reproduction, they can be more effectively eliminated from the population by selective male carriers than female carriers.”, Pointed out Carl Greishop, evolutionary biologist and lead author of the study at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Rapid removal of harmful genes by males

According to the authors of the study, this new work sheds new light on the old question of why so many multicellular organisms resort to sexual reproduction.

“Since male production contributes less to female reproduction, the reproductive capacity of a species decreases. Hence the question of why a species develops to reproduce sexually. Only through sexual reproduction instead of producing females. According to our study, the possibility of mating, mate Can compete fiercely for, allowing for more rapid elimination of harmful mutations in the population, thus providing a set of healthy genes and a higher reproductive capacity compared to asexual., Concluded David Berger, researcher and team leader in the Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University.