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Laboratory News & BioScience May 2017

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Laboratory News & BioScience May

In association with The NZ Microbiological Society Inc. VOL. 22 No. 1 JUNE 2012 ISSN 1172-7101 Issue 118 | May 2017 THE MAGAZINE FOR LABORATORY PROFESSIONALS Never miss an issue… receive the latest Lab News and BioScience straight to your inbox. Send your details to: Check out our facebook page: NOW INCORPORATING First evidence of rhinoceros’ ability to correct gender imbalance Research led by Victoria University of Wellington has demonstrated the ability of rhinoceros to modify the sex of their offspring to avoid the dominance of one gender and limit severe competition for breeding. The study, led by Associate Professor Wayne Linklater from Victoria’s School of Biological Sciences, provides the first experimental evidence in the wild that unbalanced population sex ratios can result in a compensatory response by parents to ‘correct’ the imbalance. “This is called a homeostatic sex allocation (HSA) response—a biological theory first proposed in 1930,” explains Associate Professor Linklater. “Almost all population models assume birth sex ratio is fixed. Our evidence indicates that this may not be the case.” The study, published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, was co-authored by Dr Peter Law from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, Pierre du Preez from Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and former Victoria University postdoctoral researcher Dr Jay Gedir. The research team examined 24 years of rhinoceros data, gathered during the course of 45 reintroductions of the animals across southern Africa. Sex-bias is especially important in rhinoceros populations due to their critically low numbers, says Associate Professor Linklater. “But because of the evidence of HSA, we need not be so concerned about that misbalance, because parents appear able to ‘correct’ it when they breed. “HSA has an especially strong effect when the gender imbalance is very large. In fact, the further it is from an even-sex ratio, the stronger the response is by parents.” Associate Professor Linklater says that those populations where HSA is possible will be more resilient. “Their small populations will have improved establishment and greater viability. Such species will populate habitats faster, and be less susceptible to random demographic processes and Continued on page 3 MO BIO is known as the World Leader in Soil DNA & RNA Isolation®, thanks to its patented Inhibitor Removal Technology®, which enables isolation of pure DNA from challenging samples like soil, water, plants and stool. Thus, MO BIO kits are the method of choice for microbiome projects, as these studies often require isolation of nucleic acids from challenging samples that contain a variety of PCR inhibitors. For more information please contact | T: 0800 34 24 66 | LN_0417_FS_QIA_MoBio_trsfr.indd 1 11/04/2017 10:23:42 a.m.

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