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Natural selection for moderate testosterone surprises scientists
Date:5/4/2010

in relation to all the other individuals in a population. This study suggests that when it comes to testosterone and the behaviors it controls, moderation helps provide this competitive edge.

"These findings represent the culmination of 20-plus years of research directed towards understanding how variability in male testosterone relates to Darwinian fitness, and the outcome is deeply satisfying," said Ketterson, a principal investigator and coauthor. "Initially we took an experimental approach, which revealed that chronic elevation of testosterone reduced lifespan in the junco. But the story could not be complete without knowing whether males with naturally high or low levels of testosterone were at a survival advantage or disadvantage. Much of the literature on testosterone suggests that more is better. Our studies, experimental and correlational, now show that while 'high-T males', as we call them, may sometimes benefit in reproduction, too much testosterone leads to lower survival, and it's the average male that is the best performer."


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Contact: David Bricker
brickerd@indiana.edu
812-856-9035
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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