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Genetic-genealogy approach reveals low rate of extra-pair paternity in historical Dutch populations

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Objective: Evolutionary theory has shown that seeking out extra-pair paternity (EPP) can be a viable reproductive strategy for both sexes in pair-bonded species, also in humans. As yet, estimates of the contemporary or historical EPP rate in human population are still rare. In the present study, we estimated the historical EPP rate in the Dutch population over the last 400 years and compared the rate with those obtained for other human populations in order to determine the evolutionary, cultural and socio-demographic factors that influence human cuckoldry behaviour. Methods: We estimated the historical EPP rate for the Dutch population via the ‘genealogical pair method’, in which the EPP rate is derived from Y-chromosome mismatches between pairs of individuals that, based on genealogical evidence, share a common paternal ancestor. Results: Based on the analysis of 68 representative genealogical pairs, separated by a total of 1,013 fertilization events, we estimated that the historical EPP rate for the Dutch population over the last 400 years was 0.96% per generation (95% confidence interval 0.46% - 1.76%). Conclusion: The Dutch EPP rate fits perfectly within the range reported for other contemporary and historical populations in Western Europe and was highly congruent with that estimated for neighbouring Flanders, despite the socio-economic and religious differences between both populations. The estimated low EPP rate challenges the ‘dual mating strategy hypothesis’ that states that women could obtain fitness benefits by securing investment from one man while cuckolding him in order to obtain good genes from an affair partner.
Tijdschrift: American Journal of Human Biology
ISSN: 1042-0533
Issue: 6
Volume: 29
Jaar van publicatie:2017
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education