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Marmoset sequence sheds new light on primate biology and evolution
Date:7/20/2014

t-offers-insight-twin-pregnancy">twinning. However, it is not just a question of why they have such a high rate of twinning, but how do they manage to rear and raise these twins so successfully," said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology maternal fetal medicine at Baylor and a co-author on the study. "Given the relatively high rate of complications of twins we see, ranging from preterm birth to unique complications such as Twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome (seen only amongst identical or monochorionic twins), it is crucial to understand the underlying adaptive biology of the marmoset which enables them to avoid these complications."

Alloparenting

Marmosets have a unique social system in which the dominant male and female serve as the primary breeders for a family, while their relatives also care for the offspring. They pick them up, carry them for long periods, and basically provide all the support allowing the breeders to reproduce again quickly. Interestingly the relatives who provide the care are reproductively suppressed, said Worley.

"This species is clearly adapted to rapid reproduction and to the potential for rapid population expansion," said Rogers. "Their ecological system connects with that as they are able to thrive in disturbed areas of forests. So one possibility is that they have evolved a feeding and dietary regimen that allows them to live in these type of conditions where they can reproduce quickly. This would be advantageous as any adults that move into a newly disturbed area would establish their offspring as the early initial residents of the newly available area."

Small body size

Marmosets also have a very small body size. The genome sequence showed this may be the result of positive selection in five growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor axis genes (GH-IGF) with potential roles in producing small body size.

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Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@bcm.edu
713-798-7974
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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