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Press Release 10-053

Small But Mighty Female Lizards Control Genetic Destiny

Mothers win the genetic tug of war by producing more sons with larger fathers and more daughters with smaller fathers

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Photo showing a hand holding a smaller female anole and a larger male anole.

The male of this species can be two to three times the mass of the female, but the female may be able to control fertilization by selectively using the sperm from different mates.

Credit: Joseph Mehling, Dartmouth College '69


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Photo showing a mating pair of brown anole lizards from the Bahamas.

A mating pair of brown anole lizards from the Bahamas. Males can be up to two to three times larger than females, reflecting an evolutionary history of sexual conflict over the genes for body size.

Credit: Robert Cox and Ryan Calsbeek, Dartmouth College


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Photo showing a female anole lizard in center with a large male on left and small male on right.

Female anole lizards (center) mate with multiple males and then produce more sons with sperm from large males (left) and more daughters with sperm from small males (right).

Credit: Robert Cox and Ryan Calsbeek, Dartmouth College


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Cover of the April 2, 2010 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' findings appear in the April 2, 2010 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2010


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