Chimps prefer having babies with mates who are most genetically different to them, a recent research has found.
15:55 13 January 2017
A research conducted at Gombe National Park in Tanzania has found that chimps avoid the negative health effects associated with inbreeding by mating with those that are most genetically different to them.
The research also found that while most animals avoid breeding with close relatives, chimps are unusual as they have the ability to determine which ones are more genetically similar to them. Although enough evidence is not yet available to establish the reason behind this specific ability, researchers think that they make an educated guess based on how a chimp looks, how they smell or even the sounds they make.
The researchers said that the reason the chimps make these choices is because of something called inbreeding depression in which babies born from parents who are genetically similar inherit the same harmful version of a gene from both parents. Chimpanzees try to avoid this by moving out from their own groups and using mechanisms that researchers are currently exploring.
One of the researchers said: 'Processes that take place after mating may also play a role, such as a female unconsciously choosing some males' sperm over others, or influencing the fertilized egg's implanting or the fate of the embryo,'