As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 30 May 2016

Bird research in Seychelles links inbreeding with shorter lifespans for entire animal kingdom

Victoria, Seychelles | May 27, 2016, Friday @ 14:31

(Seychelles News Agency) - Birds of a feather may flock together, but if birds mate with family members, it's likely to lead to a shorter lifespan for the offspring.

That's the conclusion scientists reached after carrying out a genetic study of birds in Seychelles.

The Seychelles warbler was found to be the perfect candidate by evolutionary biologists seeking to pin down the effect of inbreeding on the entire animal kingdom, including on humans themselves. This is in spite of the fact that the tiny brown bird is found on only a handful of Seychelles' islands.

According to Kat Bebbington, a British PhD student at the University of East Anglia, the risk of inbreeding is particularly high in any population of animals which are small in numbers and geographically isolated.

“Lots of research is being done to try and understand how small populations avoid inbreeding, either by evolving some way of recognising relatives or making sure that offspring disperse far enough away that they will never encounter family members of the opposite sex,” Bebbington told SNA.

Bebbington is the lead author on the research paper published earlier in an online journal, Molecular Ecology, earlier in May.

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