Friday, April 14, 2017

Promiscuity slows down evolution of new species

Previously, it was thought that natural selection was a strong incentive of the formation of new species.  Due to local variations in female preferences, nearby populations can rapidly differentiate and over time evolve into new species. New research in birds overturns the conventional wisdom and suggests that promiscuity actually slows down the evolution of new species. A research team led by the University of Bath, Cardiff University and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology found that polygamous bird species, which breed with several partners during a season, are less diverse genetically within the species compared to monogamous species that only pair with one mate per season. One author stated that  "Our findings suggest that because of the pressure to find more than one mate, polygamous shorebirds may search large areas and therefore spread their genes as they go." "This means they effectively mix up the gene pool by diluting any genetic differences between geographically distant locations, so that populations are less likely to diversify into new species over time."  They stated that their research is consistent with previous findings that polygamous birds can travel up to hundreds of kilometers to find a suitable partner.
original article here
some statistics from a different researcher

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