Navigation Links
The importance of 'inner values' -- female sparrows test the genetic make-up of their mates
Date:5/27/2011

How do females select partners? Darwin's initial idea that the fittest males would be the most desirable and would therefore be most likely to secure partners has represented a cornerstone of evolutionary theory since the publication of "The Descent of Man" in 1871. Darwin proposed that secondary sexual characteristics enabled females to see at a glance which male was "best", i.e. best for every female. This male would be the chosen partner as he would pass on the best possible genes to the next generation, thereby increasing the fitness of the species.

Towards the end of the 20th century, however, a number of researchers perhaps because they did not see themselves as the most desirable males on offer began to move away from this idea and to consider instead the notion that different females may intrinsically prefer different males. There is increasing evidence that animals select partners that are compatible with them and it has been suggested that the genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) might influence mating preferences. MHC genes have key roles in the immune system and the offspring of partners with very different MHC alleles may be more resistant to disease and thus genetically "fitter".

Hoi's group at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, from January 2011 part of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, investigated this idea in house sparrows. The scientists examine the birds' preferences for partners by means of choice experiments, in which a number of females were offered a choice of four partners: a "control" female and three different males. Females were found to spend very little time next to the control female, confirming that their preferences were sexual and not merely social. If females sought the "best" mating partner, most females would prefer one or few males but the scientists could find no evidence that this was the case. Furthermore, they could not show that females preferred males with high individual MHC diversities. However, they did find that females with a low number of MHC alleles were most attracted to males carrying a high number of such alleles. This result suggests that the birds have a mechanism for "counting" the number of MHC alleles on offer from individual males.

The work represents the first experimental evidence that birds' mating preferences are influenced by the genes of the major histocompatibility complex. As Hoi says, "our findings show that birds do not simply select the 'most attractive' partner but instead choose ones with which they are most compatible. Like humans, then, birds seem to pay attention to the 'inner values' of their potential partners."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Herbert Hoi
herbert.hoi@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-664-964-9703
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. American College of Medical Genetics affirms importance of newborn screening dried blood spots
2. The importance of being helpful -- Cooperative cichlids boost their own reproductive success
3. Nobel Laureate underscores importance of investment in basic research
4. Scientists demonstrate importance of niche differences in biodiversity
5. Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites
6. Importance of insulin delivery devices for diabetes management
7. Study shows importance of exercise for those at special risk for Alzheimers
8. New model shows importance of feet, toes in body balance
9. ONR puts spotlight on importance of sea-based aviation science and technology
10. Entomological Society of America names 2008 award winners
11. Audience Selected as Silver Winner in This Years Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards and Winner of the Semiconductors Category
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed in ... on medical screening and diagnostic applications, such ... devices that facilitate and assure continuous monitoring ... are being bolstered through new opportunities offered ... acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity and low ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology ... service presents an analysis of the digital and computed ... Malaysia , and Indonesia ... current trends and market size, as well as regional ... by country and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... BURNABY, Canada , February 1, 2016 ... new technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture ...   --> Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Germany and GERMANTOWN, Maryland ... ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced the introduction ... for gene expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio of Sample ... enable researchers to select from over 20,000 human genes ... interactions between genes, cellular phenotypes and disease processes. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is a new ... the experience, expertise, operational delivery and customer focus ... Created in concert with industry leading commercial experts, ... tactical needs of its clients by providing value-based ... and non-personal promotion. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... to delivering cutting-edge information focused on the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals ... a premier sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards – Recognizing Excellence ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Florida , February 11, 2016 ... PositiveID Corporation ("PositiveID" or "Company") (OTCQB: PSID), a ... announced today that its Thermomedics subsidiary, which markets ... on its growth plan in January 2016, including ... distributors, increasing sequential monthly sales growth, and establishing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: