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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
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ScienceShot: Fatherhood From Beyond the Grave
4 June 2013 7:01 pm
Men who become dads in their 50s may feel studly, but they've got nothing on the wild guppy. New research shows that the male Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), the ancestor of the common aquarium resident, can become a father long after death. Scientists spiked a guppy-free stretch of stream in Trinidad with 38 male and 38 female fish. Every month, they used butterfly nets and traps baited with dog food to capture the guppies in the study area—which was bounded by waterfalls, ensuring no immigrants or escapees—and then analyzed their DNA. The survey showed that almost 14% of the 540 tallied births took place after dad had died, and that a male guppy could become a father 8 months, roughly 75 years in human terms, after his demise. That allowed half of the fish to sire offspring from beyond the (watery) grave, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The male has the female to thank for this supernatural ability. A female guppy can store her consort's sperm for months in a tiny pocket inside her ovaries, which is lucky, because females live much longer than males. The arrangement benefits both sexes: Females can have babies even if the dating scene is grim, and males can reproduce for longer than their lifespan.
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