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Grandma plays favourites : X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality

Fox, M. and Sear, R. and Beise, J. and Ragsdale, G. and Voland, E. and Knapp, L.A. (2010) 'Grandma plays favourites : X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality.', Proceedings of the Royal Society series B : biological sciences., 277 (1681). pp. 567-573.

Abstract

Biologists use genetic relatedness between family members to explain the evolution of many behavioural and developmental traits in humans, including altruism, kin investment and longevity. Women's post-menopausal longevity in particular is linked to genetic relatedness between family members. According to the ‘grandmother hypothesis’, post-menopausal women can increase their genetic contribution to future generations by increasing the survivorship of their grandchildren. While some demographic studies have found evidence for this, others have found little support for it. Here, we re-model the predictions of the grandmother hypothesis by examining the genetic relatedness between grandmothers and grandchildren. We use this new model to re-evaluate the grandmother effect in seven previously studied human populations. Boys and girls differ in the per cent of genes they share with maternal versus paternal grandmothers because of differences in X-chromosome inheritance. Here, we demonstrate a relationship between X-chromosome inheritance and grandchild mortality in the presence of a grandmother. With this sex-specific and X-chromosome approach to interpreting mortality rates, we provide a new perspective on the prevailing theory for the evolution of human female longevity. This approach yields more consistent support for the grandmother hypothesis, and has implications for the study of human evolution.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2009.1660
Record Created:06 Dec 2010 15:50
Last Modified:03 Mar 2011 14:47

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