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Males help maintain the genetic health of the population.

A few males are enough to fertilize all the females. Therefore, the number of males does not affect population growth. However, they are important in eliminating bad mutations from the population. This is demonstrated by a new study at Uppsala University that provides insights into the possible long-term genetic effects of sex selection. The results are published in a scientific journal. evolution letter.

The study supports the theory that in multiple animal selections acting on males can assign an accidental benefit to populations resulting in offspring inheriting healthy genes. Intense competition in males results in the selection of individuals with a large number of dangerous mutations. prevent such mutations. This can have a long-term positive effect on the growth and survival of sexually reproducing populations.

“When a harmful mutation is eliminated from a population by rigorous selection in males, As a result, the number of males is increased less. This process can occur with little or no impact on population growth. This is because the relatively small number of males is sufficient to fertilize all females in the population. Thus, whether the female mates with a few males or a large number of males, there is little difference in the number of offspring that the female can produce, especially in species where the males do not care for their offspring. said L. Greshop, an evolutionary biologist at Canada̵

7;s University of Toronto and lead researcher.

The researchers used seeds of 16 species of beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus) to examine how the inferential number of harmful mutations in each item affects the reproductive capacity (fitness) of females and males. with intensive mating of the species followed by crossbreeding. Thus, the cumulative effect of each species’ unique mutation set can be quantified. Scientists can see that these mutations are nearly equally detrimental to both females and males. This is a more genetically variable setting that is related to the way selection is performed in nature. The effects of these mutations are evident in the physical performance of men. In women, the harmful effects of mutations they have are undetectable in more genetically variable backgrounds. and hence are not effectively eliminated through natural selection of females only.

“This indicates that although these mutations have a negative effect on female reproduction, they are not the same. But they are more effectively removed from the population by choice acting on male carriers over female carriers. Previous research from our group and others has been successful in showing this effect artificially. cause a mutation But this is the first direct evidence that genes occur naturally,” Grieshop said.

from the point of view of researchers Their study opens up new questions to the same question as to why so many multicellular organisms use sexual reproduction.

“The production of males impairs the reproductive capacity of the species. Since the males themselves contribute less to the production of offspring than the females, the question is why species have evolved through sexual reproduction. instead of just producing females through asexual reproduction. Our study shows that male production which may compete intensely for breeding opportunities This allows for faster removal of harmful mutations from a population. This gives a healthier gene set and higher reproductive capacity compared to asexual reproduction,” said David Berger, researcher and team leader in Uppsala University’s Department of Ecology and Genetics.


Grieshop, K. et al. (2021). Male selection eliminates the mutational burden of female performance. evolution letter. doi: 10.1002 / evl3.239.

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