Navigation Links
Hyena mothers give their cubs a helpful dose of hormones

Scientists have discovered that a dominant hyena puts her cubs on the road to success before they are born by passing on high levels of certain hormones that make her budding young leaders more aggressive and sexually advanced.

The report, published in the April 27 issue of Nature, is the first study in mammals to demonstrate a relationship between a female's social rank and her ability to influence her offspring's behavior through prenatal hormone transfer. Previously, this phenomenon had only been documented in birds.

Michigan State University's Kay Holekamp, together with her colleagues, spent almost 10 years sampling androgen levels from free-ranging hyenas in Kenya. Androgens are hormones, such as testosterone, that control development of typically masculine characteristics like aggression, muscle development and sexual behavior.

The team found that alpha females had higher androgen levels late in pregnancy when compared to the subordinate, pregnant females in the pack. Consequently, the cubs of the alpha females were more aggressive and exhibited more sexual play, characteristics that elevate the chances for life-success in both sexes.

In hyena packs, male-female social roles are reversed from what is normally found in nature--that is, female hyenas are larger, more aggressive and dominate the group. They even have deceptively male-like genitalia, leading to the misconception that they are hermaphrodites.

According to Jerry Wolff, the National Science Foundation manager whose program helped support this work, "this is a clear example of how the complex integration of genetics, physiology and social environment leads to reproductive success for this species."

Wolff believes that Holekamp's work will create a paradigm shift in how scientists view the establishment of dominance in mammals.


Source:National Science Foundation

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Ultrasounds show mothers drinking shrinks fetal brain
2. Priming embryonic stem cells to fulfill their promise
3. Protein offers way to stop microscopic parasites in their tracks
4. Flocking together: Study shows how animal groups find their way
5. Where bacteria get their genes
6. Chickadees can help humans get their bearings
7. Bacteria use hosts immune response to their competitive advantage
8. Structures of marine toxins provide insight into their effectiveness as cancer drugs
9. Beauty queens urge girls not to sacrifice their bones
10. Researchers learn how blood vessel cells cope with their pressure-packed job
11. Stem cells electric abilities might help their safe clinical use
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging industry.  As ... added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo - ... ... ... ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... Elevay is currently known as ... for high net worth professionals seeking travel for work ... world, there is still no substitute for a face-to-face ... your deal with a firm handshake. This is why ... of citizenship via investment programs like those offered by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class ... across 15 countries. Read More About the Class of ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published ... how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from ... the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only ... Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June ... scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: