Monday, November 4, 2013

Proceedings of Royal Society B, Dec. 8, 2013

In this past issue of Proceedings of Royal Society B, several articles dealt with anthropological topics.  The first was a study of the rates of extra-pair paternity in a population in Flanders, Belgium. The team looked compared the Y-chromosome of different individuals with their genealogies and surnames which are also passed patrilineally. The study found that the rate of extra pair paternity was about 1-2% per generation and remained fairly constant over the last 400 years.  The results are surprising as in the past, rates of extra-pair paternity were estimated at around 8-30% per generation.

Another study looked at potential sexual conflict in the genome over reproductive life history events. The researchers looked at a pedigreed population from pre-industrial Finland for their study.  Certain events like age at first and last reproduction, reproductive rate, and reproductive lifespan appeared to be in conflict between the sexes.  However, upon further examinations, the team found that although it seemed like there was a phenotypic conflict between the sexes, it was not playing out at a genetic level.  They claim that this shows the importance of studying the genetics behind life history events in humans.

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