Giant pandas endangered by inbreeding: study

(PhysOrg.com) -- We are all aware that the giant panda is an endangered species. Dutch researchers at the University of Twente’s Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC, The Netherlands) have suggested ...

Pandas could be extinct in 2-3 generations: report

China's giant panda could be extinct in just two to three generations as rapid economic development is infringing on its way of life, state media said on Monday, citing an expert at conservation group WWF.

US sees massive drop in bumble bees: study (Update)

Weakened by inbreeding and disease, bumble bees have died off at an astonishing rate over the past 20 years, with some US populations diving more than 90 percent, according to a new study.

Exposed: The strange sex life of spiders

Here's the good news: you are a male and you are allowed to have sex, at most, twice in your life. If that's the good news -- you may well ask -- what's the bad news? It's this: if you copulate for longer than 10 seconds, ...

Research shows male guppies reproduce even after death

Performing experiments in a river in Trinidad, a team of evolutionary biologists has found that male guppies continue to reproduce for at least ten months after they die, living on as stored sperm in females, who have much ...

Believing in the pygmy bunny

Like the Easter Bunny, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit of Washington state may soon exist only in our imaginations. None have been seen in the wild since 2004. But a new breeding program is aiming to rebuild this endangered ...

Turtles' mating habits protect against effects of climate change

The mating habits of marine turtle may help to protect them against the effects of climate change, according to new research led by the University of Exeter. Published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society ...

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Inbreeding

Inbreeding is breeding between close relatives, whether plant or animal. If practiced repeatedly, it can lead to exposure of recessive, deleterious traits. This generally leads to a decreased fitness of a population, which is called inbreeding depression. Deleterious alleles causing inbreeding depression can subsequently be removed through culling. This is known as genetic purging.

Livestock breeders often practice inbreeding to "fix" desirable characteristics within a population. However, they must then cull unfit offspring, especially when trying to establish the new and desirable trait in their stock.

In plant breeding, inbred lines are used as stocks for the creation of hybrid lines to make use of the heterosis effect. Inbreeding in plants also occurs naturally in the form of self-pollination.

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