Navigation Links
Why do we choose our mates? Ask Charles Darwin, prof says
Date:6/15/2009

Charles Darwin wrote about it 150 years ago: animals don't pick their mates by pure chance it's a process that is deliberate and involves numerous factors. After decades of examining his work, experts agree that he pretty much scored a scientific bullseye, but a very big question is, "What have we learned since then?" asks a Texas A&M University biologist who has studied Darwin's theories.

Adam Jones, an evolutional biologist who has studied Darwin's work for years, says that Darwin's beliefs about the choice of mates and sexual selection being beyond mere chance have been proven correct, as stated in Darwin's landmark book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. His work has withstood decades of analysis and scrutiny, as Jones states in his paper, "Mate Choice and Sexual Selection: What Have We Learned Since Darwin?" in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bottom line: It's no accident that certain peahens submit to gloriously-colored male peacocks, that lions get the females of their choice or that humans spend hours primping to catch the perfect spouses it's a condition that is ingrained into all creatures and a conscious "choice" is made between the two so the romantic fireworks can begin.

Jones says Darwin set the standard for original thinking about animal reproduction and was first scientist to propose plausible mechanisms of evolution, and from there he took it one step further he confirmed that animals' mating choices can drive evolutionary change.

"He noticed that birds, especially, seemed to be a bit picky about who they mated with," Jones explains. "He discovered that birds especially females had preferences and that they did not just choose a mate randomly. He believed this is due to beauty of the plumage, that females usually selected the most colorful males.

"That was an important first step, and it's given us models to work from to try to answer other big questions."

Those include determining methods to find out the actual criteria used in choosing a mate, what methods work and which do not, and the passing of genes on to the next generation, a field of study Jones says gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Another big recent advance was the development of molecular markers, which allow us to perform paternity testing," Jones adds.

"These markers can be applied to animal populations, and they give us a definitive record of who is mating with whom and what offspring resulted from the mating events. And also, what is the driving force behind sexual selection? We have an unprecedented ability to document mating patterns but we still don't completely understand why some populations experience strong sexual selection and others don't."

Jones notes that other key questions Darwin's work uncovered but has not yet answered include the role of population characteristics and the environment and how they work together to produce strong sexual selection, and also what determines whether or not female choice will evolve in a particular species.

And perhaps the biggest question of all: How does all of this pertain to humans?

"Darwin concluded that sexual selection existed in the animal world and that humans definitely followed a similar process," Jones confirms.

"But he realized he had to explain it first as it related to animals. Darwin thought that sexual selection was an important process in humans, both for males and females. But how much has sexual selection acted on males versus females in humans? Today, while we are celebrating the 200th year of the birth of Charles Darwin, we know sexual selection occurs and is very important but there are still many unanswered questions about precisely why and how it works, especially in humans."


'/>"/>

Contact: Adams Jones
ajones@mail.bio.tamu.edu
979-845-7747
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Institution of Chemical Engineers chooses Elsevier as publishing partner
2. Species still have more viable offspring if they can choose their best mate
3. Estuarine Research Federation chooses Springer as publishing partner
4. New folic acid seal helps women choose enriched grain foods to help prevent birth defects
5. Reproductive plasticity revealed: Neotropical treefrog can choose to lay eggs in water or on land
6. Male cyclists risk sexual problems if they don’t choose the right bike
7. Australian frog species chooses not to put eggs in 1 basket
8. Fish choose their leaders by consensus
9. People of higher socioeconomic status choose better diets -- but pay more per calorie
10. Opposites attract -- how genetics influences humans to choose their mates
11. The surprising story of Charles Darwin and his homeopathic doctor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion ... Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing ... applications are expected to drive the market growth. ... , The development of advanced multimodal ...
(Date:6/7/2016)...  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union ... integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into ... result in greater convenience for SACU members and ... existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority ... as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use ... height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute ... platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: