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New insights into animal domestication
“If early domestic animals lived at higher density than their wild counterparts, the likelihood of early domestic females breeding with multiple partners increased."

Changes to mating behaviour ‘enhanced domestic traits’ 

Wild animals such as wolves, pigs and cats may have become domesticated more quickly due to changes in mating behaviour, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.

Scientists say that as the animals’ population density increased in human environments, males encountered more opportunities for mating.

The benefits of pursuing these are likely to have outweighed the cost of defending access to a single mate.
Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman explained: “If early domestic animals lived at higher density than their wild counterparts, the likelihood of early domestic females breeding with multiple partners increased.

“It follows that if early domestic females mated with multiple males, both wild and domestic, the more abundant and higher quality sperm of the early domestic male would out-compete the sperm of wild males.

“This could explain the reduction in transfer of genes between wild and increasingly domesticated populations.”

There are a number of advantages to polyandrous mating - for the males, it improves sperm production and quality, while for female animals, there is a benefit to their fitness and a reduction in unwanted advances.

Researchers say this prompts a rapid change in reproductive traits and competitive fertility and could explain why domesticated animals show “dramatically different social behaviours” to their wild ancestors.

Whilst the research team accepts that the main driving force behind the domestication of wild animals is habitat preference and human selection, further research could improve understanding of how changes in mating behaviour contributed to this process.  


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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.