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Submission + - How infidelity helps nieces and nephews (

dsinc writes: A University of Utah study produced new mathematical support for a theory that explains why men in some cultures often feed and care for their sisters' children: where extramarital sex is common and accepted, a man's genes are more likely to be passed on by their sister's kids than by their wife's kids. The theory previously was believed valid only if a man was likely to be the biological father of less than one in four of his wife's children — a number that anthropologists found improbably low.

But in the new study, University of Utah anthropology Professor Alan Rogers shows mathematically that if certain assumptions in the theory are made less stringent and more realistic, that ratio changes from one in four to one in two, so the theory works more easily.

In other words, a man's genes are more likely to be passed by his sisters' children if fewer than half of his wife's kids are biologically his — rather than the old requirement that he had to sire fewer than a quarter of his wife's kids, according to the study published online Nov. 28 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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How infidelity helps nieces and nephews

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