Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

724

Date

2012

Date of Award

11-27-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Biology

Committee Chair

David A. Freeman

Committee Member

Stephan J. Schoech

Committee Member

Michael H. Ferkin

Abstract

The Damaraland mole-rat (DMR; Fukoymys damarensis) is one of a small number of mammals that are eusocial. In this mating system, only a single pair reproduce while the other remaining colony members are non-reproductive. Non-breeders exhibit sexual behavior only when paired with unfamiliar opposite-sex individuals. The role of the gonads in the regulation of reproductive behaviors in non-breeders remains unknown; however, inbreeding avoidance has been hypothesized to account, in part, for the lack of reproductive behavior in non-breeding individuals. The mechanism that regulates incest avoidance also remains unknown. The aims of this study were twofold; first, to investigate the role of the gonads in the expression of sexual behaviors and second, to identify the mechanism of incest avoidance. The results indicate 1) that the expression of sexual behavior is largely independent of the gonads and 2) that rather than incest avoidance per se, DMR avoid mating with familiar individuals irrespective of relatedness.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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