Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal

Nichols H, Cant M, Hoffman J, Sanderson J (2014)
Biology Letters 10.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
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.
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Nichols H, Cant M, Hoffman J, Sanderson J. Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters. 2014;10.
Nichols, H., Cant, M., Hoffman, J., & Sanderson, J. (2014). Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters, 10.
Nichols, H., Cant, M., Hoffman, J., and Sanderson, J. (2014). Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters 10.
Nichols, H., et al., 2014. Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters, 10.
H. Nichols, et al., “Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal”, Biology Letters, vol. 10, 2014.
Nichols, H., Cant, M., Hoffman, J., Sanderson, J.: Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal. Biology Letters. 10, (2014).
Nichols, Hazel, Cant, Mike, Hoffman, Joseph, and Sanderson, Jenny. “Evidence for frequent incest in a cooperatively breeding mammal”. Biology Letters 10 (2014).
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2 Citations in Europe PMC

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Emerging Tuberculosis Pathogen Hijacks Social Communication Behavior in the Group-Living Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo).
Alexander KA, Sanderson CE, Larsen MH, Robbe-Austerman S, Williams MC, Palmer MV., MBio 7(3), 2016
PMID: 27165798
Adjustment of costly extra-group paternity according to inbreeding risk in a cooperative mammal.
Nichols HJ, Cant MA, Sanderson JL., Behav. Ecol. 26(6), 2015
PMID: 26609201

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