On June 20th a new study published in Global Change Biology by researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom suggested that animals’ competition and choices during reproduction may have a significant impact on the risk of extinction.
Professor Matt Gage, of the University of East Anglia, said: “Due to a range of factors such as climate change, habitat loss and genetic bottlenecks, species around the world are exposed to extinction vortex (the risk of extinction, the risk of a sharp increase in extinction, the randomness of the quantitative reduction in genetic diversity, the randomness of the environment). Therefore, it is very important to measure breeding competition and selection through experiments. “
The team studied how Tribolium Castaneum evolved in monogamous and polygamous (five males per female) mating mode, and they have evolved in the lab for 10 years.
After 95 generations of these two mating models, the researchers simulated the “real life” scenarios facing today’s biodiversity and looked at how the last 15 generations responded to different living environments and influencegenetic factors.
It was found that the monogamous model was not a good response to the living environment and the genetic factors that affected them, and their populations were declining and extinct by the end of the experiment.
By contrast, males are forced to compete in the monogamous model, and females have more opportunities to choose mates for reproduction, with a much slower decline, with 60 percent of the population still surviving at the end of the study.
The researchers say reproductive competition is a positive force for increasing population survival by removing bad genes and fixing them to improve the overall genetic quality of the population, thus overcoming its resilience to harsh environmental or genetic pressures.