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Traits produced by melanin may signal the bearer's capacity to combat free radicals
Date:10/3/2008

se signals should be also able to fight off an oxidative challenge, as a consequence of the low levels of the cited antioxidant. Only those animals with alternative antioxidant resources would be able to afford the cost of signaling. By chemically inhibiting the production of glutathione at the red blood cells, authors were able to significantly increase the size of a black stripe present in the feathers of the breast of great tits (a common garden bird). This stripe is a conspicuous trait playing a significant role during combats for territory, food or mates.

Furthermore, the reduction of glutathione levels also induced a mobilization of other antioxidant molecules to the blood plasma, supporting the cost, such as hypothesized by Alonso-Alvarez and colleagues.


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Contact: Rebecca Walton
rwalton@plos.org
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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