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GENOME EDITING: AN EMERGING TOOL FOR PLANT BREEDERS Anand Kumar 1and Karansher Sandhu2

GENOME EDITING: AN EMERGING TOOL FOR PLANT BREEDERS Anand Kumar 1and Karansher Sandhu2

Till now, genome editing in plants is restricted to changes in enzymatic functions for a single purpose. CRISPR-Cas9 provides the most robust and reliable system for genome editing for multipurpose plant systems. There is an ongoing study at John Innes center for characterizing the pathways for nitrogen fixation in plants using bacteria (Xie et al., 2012). Some studies are working to incorporate these pathways into wheat (Triticum aestivum). This will ultimately result in a reduction in dependency on inorganic fertilizer as plants will be able to fix atmospheric nitrogen(Cook Martin and Bastow, 2014). The other major focus in the present world is to convert C3 rice (Oryzae sativa) to C4 using CRISPR, as engineered C4 rice has scope for increasing yield. This conversion requires the conversion of a single cell C3 cycle to a two-celled C4 cycle (Baltes et al., 2014). There are various successful studies using CRISPR to remove unwanted cells from different plants, but there is scope for new genic regulatory sequences insertion to plant genome. The transfer of new DNA segments into plants is of special interest for conferring new biological functions. With CRISPR-Cas9 there is tremendous potential for multiple gene stacking with very little variability in gene expression. The gene stacking approach has been successfully demonstrated in maize (Zea mays) where 5 % of transgenic progeny witnessed proper integration (Alagoz et al., 2016). Similar gene stacking was performed in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) (D’Halluin et al., 2013). There is no doubt that plant breeders are working hard to engineer disease resistance, high yielding, drought tolerance and nutritional varieties taking genes from other varieties or species. But this effort, the introgression of desired traits, takes several years in conventional breeding approaches. CRISPR-Cas9 is now widely used to improve agricultural important crop plants. A wheat line is recently developed resistant to powdery mildew using a gene-editing approach. Jointly with other gene-editing tools, CRISPR-Cas 9 is emerging as a game-changer for transformation in plants.

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Geneva rhetoric, national reality : the political economy of introducing plant breeders' rights in Kenya

Geneva rhetoric, national reality : the political economy of introducing plant breeders' rights in Kenya

As repeatedly noted in the article, the decoupling between ritual and behaviour is all the more disturbing given the latitude and space in Article 27.3(b) and Kenya’s adroit and consistent ability to elaborate counter-regime norms at TRIPS. Yet, neither does any of the potential for fragmentation in international law seep into Kenya’s domestic law nor does Kenya deliver on its Geneva rheto- ric. In summary, Kenya’s domestic law is a copy of the European system. By acceding to UPOV, Kenya miserably fails to find inspiration in the African Model Law that it championed in Geneva. Explaining this decoupling between rituals (Geneva rhetoric) and behaviour (domestic law), the article notes several elements of a domestic political economy. Historically embedded in global supply routes for fresh fruits and vegetables (and later, horticulture), within Kenya exists a powerful global constituency with interest in UPOV-style PBRs. Their lobbying for PBRs occurs in the shadows of seed industry transformations in Eastern Africa initiated by the World Bank. Herein, the STAK occupies signifi- cance in socialising a PBRs mindset. Ironically, alongside this constituency, public plant breeders are keen on introducing PBRs and joining UPOV. Animating public plant breeders’ support for PBRs is a hope for revenue streams through

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Following the Open-Source Trail Outside the Digital World: The Case of Open-Source Seeds

Following the Open-Source Trail Outside the Digital World: The Case of Open-Source Seeds

The extent to which open source models can be applied to agriculture is subject to de- bate. An open source model in the agricultural sector would be based on the idea that farm- ers are both users and developers of both plant varieties and the related information, knowledge and technology. New plant varieties and related technology developed using a participatory process could be made available to farmers and plant breeders with a GPL- styled license with the same viral effect: any subsequent modifications must be openly ac- cessible under the GPL terms, on a contractual promise that there would be no downstream restrictions on the rights of others to experiment, innovate, share or exchange the plant ge- netic resources. An application of the model would entail an inclusive user community of farmers, plant breeders and researchers through which information and technology may be exchange freely via decentralized commons-based peer-production networks (Aoki 2009). Aoki optimistically argues that such a model would lead to increased capacity of users, rather than creating passive consumers of technologically advanced but legally inaccessible crop technology systems. It would also enable farmers to continue developing plant varieties adapted to particular local situations, and thus prevent genetic erosion. In addition to creating a system allowing for open exchange of knowledge and innovation, the motivations for using an open source model in the agricultural context are further linked to addressing global chal- lenges, including food security, conservation of agricultural biodiversity, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development.

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Evaluation of susceptibility level of pear cultivars to fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) in the Czech Republic

Evaluation of susceptibility level of pear cultivars to fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) in the Czech Republic

Thirty-three pear cultivars and selections of potential interest to pear producers and plant breeders in the Czech Republic were tested for relative field susceptibility to the fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) over five years. Level of fire blight susceptibility was evaluated according to the extent of lesion development on the shoot tips after artificial in- oculation in experimental plots under insect proof nets. Old cvs Alexander Lucas (as resistant standard), Conference (as moderately resistant standard) and Beurré Bosc (as susceptible standard) were included in the tests. The 33 pear cultivars and selections were tested, only one of them was highly resistant (3.0%), 3.0% were evaluated as resistant, 12.1% moderately resistant, 36.4% moderately susceptible, 18.2% susceptible and 27.3% highly susceptible. Breeding selection US 625-63-10 was the only highly resistant pear genotype (necrosis of shoots of 0–7.0%). Resistant genotype group (necrosis 7.1–13.0%) comprised US 625-63-4. Moderately resistant genotypes (necrosis 13.1–25.0%) included cvs Alexander Lucas, Alfa, Bohemica and HL 31-50-31. Highly susceptible genotypes (necrosis more than 80.1%) included cvs Vonka, Karina, Bona, Decora, Elektra, Milka, Regina, Alice and TE 4763. The remaining genotypes were moderately susceptible (necrosis 26.1–60.0%) and susceptible (necrosis 60.1–80.0%).

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DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE SPECIAL SECTION HERE

DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE SPECIAL SECTION HERE

The extent to which open source models can be applied to agriculture is subject to de- bate. An open source model in the agricultural sector would be based on the idea that farm- ers are both users and developers of both plant varieties and the related information, knowledge and technology. New plant varieties and related technology developed using a participatory process could be made available to farmers and plant breeders with a GPL- styled license with the same viral effect: any subsequent modifications must be openly ac- cessible under the GPL terms, on a contractual promise that there would be no downstream restrictions on the rights of others to experiment, innovate, share or exchange the plant ge- netic resources. An application of the model would entail an inclusive user community of farmers, plant breeders and researchers through which information and technology may be exchange freely via decentralized commons-based peer-production networks (Aoki 2009). Aoki optimistically argues that such a model would lead to increased capacity of users, rather than creating passive consumers of technologically advanced but legally inaccessible crop technology systems. It would also enable farmers to continue developing plant varieties adapted to particular local situations, and thus prevent genetic erosion. In addition to creating a system allowing for open exchange of knowledge and innovation, the motivations for using an open source model in the agricultural context are further linked to addressing global chal- lenges, including food security, conservation of agricultural biodiversity, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development.

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Living with Materiality or Confronting Asian Diversity? : The Case of Iron-Biofortified Rice Research in the Philippines

Living with Materiality or Confronting Asian Diversity? : The Case of Iron-Biofortified Rice Research in the Philippines

As research continued into the complex interactions between soils, crops and human bodies that might lead to improved nutrition and health, a concerted effort was made to gain the support of a critical constituency: CGIAR plant breeders. At this time, the plant breeders in the various breeding centres were reluctant to add more breeding objectives to what was already a demanding workload 5 . These reactions, combined with memories of the earlier experience with high-lysine maize made it difficult for Bouis and others promote the idea of biofortification research within the CGIAR. Furthermore, much still remained to be learned about these plant-soil-human nutrition dynamics and research thus far had therefore been fairly open-ended and exploratory. Even the idea of ‘tailoring the plant to fit the soil’, in the context of breeding for iron and zinc density implied a degree of site specificity and complexity that would have been unattractive to overstretched scientists.

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End Point versus Point of Sale Levying of Plant Breeding Royalties: An Economic Analysis using Optimal Control Theory

End Point versus Point of Sale Levying of Plant Breeding Royalties: An Economic Analysis using Optimal Control Theory

Intellectual property rights for commercial crops have become in- creasingly controversial as plant breeders have sought to protect their investment through licensing and royalties, and farmers, in particular ecologically-oriented farmers, have promoted seed-saving as a conser- vation measure. Plant breeders have argued that seed saving reduces sales to breeders and that the imposition of royalties is necessary to maintain sales and to compensate them for the intellectual property invested in commercial varieties. These issues are explored here. In this paper, an optimal control model of seed purchase decisions in the presence of seed saving is developed. The model is used to analyze the impact of both point of sale royalties and end-point royalties on seed puchase decisions. The two approaches to levying royalties are then compared and policy conclusions drawn.

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Transgenic Vegetable Breeding for Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits

Transgenic Vegetable Breeding for Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits

Transgenic cultivars can improve nutritional quality and health benefits and make important contributions to sus- tainable vegetable production by overcoming limiting fac- tors in production, mainly virus diseases and pests, which are not easily addressed through conventional vegetable breeding alone. The variety of transgenic and conventional breeding techniques being used to enhance the nutritional quality and health benefits of vegetable crops is increas- ing. Molecular approaches hold great promise for future modifications. To be successful, however, more interdis- ciplinary work is required and besides molecular biolo- gists and plant breeders is necessary to involve nutritional and food scientists as well as others from biomedical fields to ascertain the true function of specific plant compounds. A barrier to the successful use of transgenic techniques might be the acceptance—or lack thereof—of transgenic vegetable crops by the public. Strategies for improving the health functionality of vegetables that rely on trans- genic approaches offer great scientific promise, but have so far been met with public scepticism, and even fear. Thus far, only two transgenic vegetable species—squash and sweet corn—has been approved and sold commercially for any length of time in the USA, and, despite the brief appearance and quick disappearance of transgenic toma- toes and potatoes in the past twenty years, there is wide- spread doubt whether more genetically modified vegeta- ble crops will be approved in the near term. It remains to

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LOCAL WISDOM: LOCAL RICE EXCELLENCE FROM CREATIVITY OF FARMER BREEDERS

LOCAL WISDOM: LOCAL RICE EXCELLENCE FROM CREATIVITY OF FARMER BREEDERS

Another activity carried out by farmers of the “bengen” era is "mbibiti", which is selecting seeds to be planted in the next season. In the process of plant breeding, selecting activities into one unified sequence, to choose the best seed from the acquired hybrid. So that ability seemed "restored". Seeds that have dried up when planted will need to be soaked for germinating. This activity is called "mengetim". This activity is still done by farmers so that the seeds that have germinated can be planted in the paddy fields. Another way is to sow seed "ngipuk" or sowing the seeds directly, the term now is "seeded" or stocking / direct seeding, articles used in this way for rainfed. To save the crops from bird pests, made "memedi rice" which is a bamboo puppet clothed farmers and moves with rope so that birds do not dare to approach. Thus, the practice of breeder farming is not much different from organic cultivation, which is in harmony with the environment.

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Breeders’ knowledge on cattle fodder species preference in rangelands of Benin

Breeders’ knowledge on cattle fodder species preference in rangelands of Benin

Most of top fodders form a component of livelihood strategies in the country because they remain an important source of health care and constitute an essential basis in traditional medicine improvement. They are also valued for their timber and their trade importance. Unfortunately, the large combined and increasing demand for these plants and the consequent increase in the rate of collection nega- tively affected the wild populations of many species, to the point that some species are now considered to be threat- ened with extinction. Thus, 2 fodder species among 16 pri- orities (12.50%) were classified as endangered plant species according to the International Union for Nature Conserva- tion (https://www.iucnredlist.org/) and Adomou et al. [5]. We will cite A. africana and P. erinaceus. This handicaps their sustainable use. Agroforestry species such as Vitellaria paradoxa and Khaya senegalensis benefit from particular management practices such as assisted natural regener- ation, seeding or often sapling transplantation within the farmlands [50]. But some species as A. africana seems to be neglected [50]. Urgent conservation measures must be taken for ensuring their sustainability use in Benin.

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Do warning calls boost survival of signal recipients? Evidence from a field experiment in a group-living bird species

Do warning calls boost survival of signal recipients? Evidence from a field experiment in a group-living bird species

I assessed the kinship of non-breeders in a group by following reproduction (n = 21 individuals) or by observing the behavioural interaction of breeders and non-breeders on feeders (n = 7 individuals). In most groups, nests were found by following breeding adults that had been radio- tagged. All nestlings in successful nests were ringed with a metal ring and three colour rings, allowing recognition of individuals as retained offspring if they remained with their parents after independence. In groups where reproduction was not followed, I assessed the aggressive interactions between breeders and unringed non-breeders on feeders following a standard protocol [26]. Breeders are rarely aggressive towards retained offspring, while they frequently displace or chase away unrelated non-breeders from the feeder [9,26]. Assessing relatedness using this behavioural proxy has been shown to be reliable when compared with individuals of known relatedness [26].

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Statistical Evaluation of the Cotton Regional Breeders Testing Network (RBTN)

Statistical Evaluation of the Cotton Regional Breeders Testing Network (RBTN)

sites for public breeders and geneticists across a regional basis. This study looked at various sta- tistical aspects of field testing with emphasis on lint yield. Ten years of data (107 environments) were examined. The objectives were to: 1) deter- mine any relationship between error variance and mean lint yield, 2) establish a procedure for rejecting less precise data, and 3) discern the most optimum testing sites in the program. To achieve the first objective the natural log of er- ror variances were regressed on the natural log of mean environmental lint yields and tested for significance. The “b” value of 0.85 was signifi - cant indicating that the error variance increased with increasing yield levels. Using a procedure previously published on rejecting less precise data, the second objective was met. Five of the 107 environments were deemed imprecise and should not have been included in across-location tables. A genotypic index regression method was followed to ascertain the most desirable test sites in the program. Twelve of 23 test sites did an ac- ceptable job of discriminating the entries. Thus, by eliminating nearly half of the test sites more reliable data can be produced, less seed would be required, and more efficient use of resources would be achieved. Sites with less than desir- able tests might contribute by collecting data on disease tolerance, morphological traits, or insect resistance, etc. and thus might still be valuable in the cotton RBTN.

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Beyond access and benefit-sharing : lessons from the emergence and application of the principle of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in agrobiodiversity governance

Beyond access and benefit-sharing : lessons from the emergence and application of the principle of fair and equitable benefit-sharing in agrobiodiversity governance

A series of historic events led to the transformation of agriculture and the global redistribution of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). Colonization resulted in a vast flow of agricultural species from the Americas to Europe and from South to North. Botanic gardens and other ex situ facilities were established, mainly in the North, which stored samples of agricultural varieties coming mainly from developing countries, the centres of domestication of major agricultural crops. During the 20th century, the green revolution dramatically transformed agriculture through scientific and technological advances. Plant breeding was professionalized and the commercial seed sector emerged. These trends led to a spread of monocultures of genetically uniform high-yielding crop varieties and the erosion of agricultural biodiversity, making agricultural production vulnerable in the face of threats such as pests and extreme environmental conditions (FAO 1993). At the same time, customary farmer practices and varieties and traditional seed systems were marginalized and in cases criminalized, in favour of scientific, public or corporate-led research supported by intellectual property rights (IPRs) (Tsioumani et al. 2016; De Schutter 2009; Mooney 1998). These trends put at risk the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, in developing but also in developed countries.

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Joint care can outweigh costs of nonkin competition in communal breeders

Joint care can outweigh costs of nonkin competition in communal breeders

Previous work has demonstrated that Seychelles warbler nestlings who are raised with a competitor have reduced body mass and suffer survival costs compared to those raised alone (Bebbington, Kingma, et al. 2016). Here, we show that both these costs are lim- ited to nestlings reared in noncommunal broods and appear to be reduced or absent in communal broods. While relatedness between nestlings was considerably lower in communal than in noncommu- nal broods, the absence of within-brood competitive asymmetry or differential offspring rivalry costs in the former suggests that this competitive equality does not lead to escalated offspring rivalry costs. The patterns we report here rely on small sample sizes; vali- dation of our findings in other facultative communal breeders is needed before any strong conclusions are drawn. However, the fact that resource availability appears to mitigate offspring rivalry costs more generally does support the hypothesis that escalated costs of competition among nonkin may be mitigated by the increased resource availability to communally-reared nestlings. We sug- gest that increased parental resources in communal broods, which likely arises as a consequence of a greater number of provisioning female parents, overrides any additional costs of increased competi- tion between offspring of different parents. This finding could help explain how communal breeding can remain stable in the context of costly offspring rivalry and selfish genes.

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Effects of Phyzyme XP and Avizyme 1502 on the Performance of Broiler Breeders and their Progeny.

Effects of Phyzyme XP and Avizyme 1502 on the Performance of Broiler Breeders and their Progeny.

Phosphorus (P) has been found to be the second most abundant mineral in the body, not only for humans but for all domestic animals. Its abundance and ubiquitous presence in the entire body has become just one example of what the term “essential” could mean, especially as this mineral has been reported to influence metabolic, structural, and reproductive functions. For decades scientist have worked to establish minimum dietary requirements for domestic animals in order to promote optimum health and growth that later will be converted to profits for animal producers. The ninth and most recent edition (1994) of the Nutrient Requirements of Poultry from the NRC established that the minimum requirement of non-phytate phosphorus (NPP) was 0.45% and 0.35% for broilers from 0-3 wk and 3-6 wk, respectively. For broiler breeders, 0.45% NPP diets during the rearing phase was recommended. Intensive selection in domestic avian species during the last decade (Rauw et al., 1998) has required advancements in nutrition and physiology to evolve as rapidly as those in genetics and genomics (Burt, 2002). This situation has made industry and academia constantly reevaluate the nutritional requirements necessary to support genetically induced improvements in performance, while taking in consideration animal welfare and the environment.

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Bioavailability and Immunity Response in Broiler Breeders on Organically Complexed Zinc Supplementation

Bioavailability and Immunity Response in Broiler Breeders on Organically Complexed Zinc Supplementation

vels of zinc in organic form or replacement of inorganic zinc with organic zinc in the diet of broiler breeders. [34] in their experiment on broilers reported that zinc content of serum of both organic and inorganic fed groups did not differ significantly which is in agreement with our finding. In contrast to this, [29] reported significantly higher level of serum zinc in zinc-proteanate group than control. Similarly, [35] reported that broiler chicken re- ceived diet containing zinc-methionine had increased level serum zinc compared to the content of this element in birds received zinc sulphate. The non-significant level of serum zinc in different periods of study might be due to mineral homeostasis which is precisely maintained in the body and is predominantly achieved by balancing tissue storage and excretion [36].

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Correlation between footpad lesions and systemic bacterial infections in broiler breeders

Correlation between footpad lesions and systemic bacterial infections in broiler breeders

Footpad lesions or footpad dermatitis is a well-known factor impairing welfare in broilers [1, 2]. However, lit- tle published information concerning broiler breeders is available. A recent study in broiler breeders indicates that both the prevalence and the severity increases over time [10]. In the present study, footpad lesions were observed with increased frequency during the obser- vation period resulting in more than 70% of the dead birds having lesions from week 40 and onwards. Fur- thermore, a correlation between footpad lesions and mortality due to infection with Gram-positive cocci was demonstrated. Meaning that birds have a 60.5% increased risk (RR = 1.605) of dying from a Gram-positive coc- cal infection when having footpad lesions compared to having intact footpads. This fits well with the observed age-related deterioration of footpad health enabling Gram-positive cocci to invade through the compro- mised epithelial lining. Staphylococci is often found as part of the skin flora of vertebrates, including chicken (up to 90%) [13]. Furthermore staphylococci is frequently Figure 1 Prevalence of footpad lesions in birds (n = 924) dying from non-infectious or infectious aetiology in relation to age. * denotes significant difference in the proportions of birds with footpad lesions between age groups (P < 0.05, Chi square, z-test and Bonferroni correction).

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Breeders that receive help age more slowly in a cooperatively breeding bird

Breeders that receive help age more slowly in a cooperatively breeding bird

Helping by group members is predicted to lead to delayed senescence by affecting the trade- off between current reproduction and future survival for dominant breeders. Here we investigate this prediction in the Seychelles warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, in which mainly female subordinate helpers (both co-breeders and non-breeding helpers) often help domi- nants raise offspring. We fi nd that the late-life decline in survival usually observed in this species is greatly reduced in female dominants when a helper is present. Female dominants with a female helper show reduced telomere attrition, a measure that re fl ects biological ageing in this and other species. Finally, the probability of having female, but not male, helpers increases with dominant female age. Our results suggest that delayed senescence is a key bene fi t of cooperative breeding for elderly dominants and support the idea that sociality and delayed senescence are positively self-reinforcing. Such an effect may help explain why social species often have longer lifespans.

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Breeders that receive help age more slowly in a cooperatively breeding bird.

Breeders that receive help age more slowly in a cooperatively breeding bird.

Helping by group members is predicted to lead to delayed senescence by affecting the trade- off between current reproduction and future survival for dominant breeders. Here we investigate this prediction in the Seychelles warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, in which mainly female subordinate helpers (both co-breeders and non-breeding helpers) often help domi- nants raise offspring. We fi nd that the late-life decline in survival usually observed in this species is greatly reduced in female dominants when a helper is present. Female dominants with a female helper show reduced telomere attrition, a measure that re fl ects biological ageing in this and other species. Finally, the probability of having female, but not male, helpers increases with dominant female age. Our results suggest that delayed senescence is a key bene fi t of cooperative breeding for elderly dominants and support the idea that sociality and delayed senescence are positively self-reinforcing. Such an effect may help explain why social species often have longer lifespans.

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Higher resting metabolic rate in long-lived breeding Ansell’s mole-rats (Fukomys anselli)

Higher resting metabolic rate in long-lived breeding Ansell’s mole-rats (Fukomys anselli)

Ansell’s mole-rats (Fukomys anselli) are subterranean rodents of the family Bathyergidae with an extraordinary long lifespan (22 years being the maximum recorded age thus far; own observations). They live in multigener- ational families where typically only the founder pair (breeders) reproduces. Most of the offspring (non- breeders) forego reproduction and remain in the natal family. Incestuous mating (i.e. between brothers and sis- ters) usually does not occur, however, adult non- breeders readily mate with unrelated conspecifics if given a possibility [16, 17]. A clear contradiction to the classic trade-off model has been shown in this species: breeding individuals live up to twice as long as their non-breeding counterparts, a feature which is unique amongst mammals [18].

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