Navigation Links
Bigger horns equal better genes

Size matters. At least, it does to an alpine ibex.

According to a team of international researchers, mature, male alpine ibex demonstrate a correlation between horn growth and genetic diversity. Past research studies have shown that greater genetic diversity correlates with a greater chance of survival.

"The size of the horns reliably advertises the genetic quality of the ibex—and the bigger, the better," said Dr. David Coltman, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Alberta and co-author of the study, which was published this month in the journal Molecular Ecology.

The researchers found that horn sizes among younger ibex (one- to six-years-old) are relatively similar regardless of their genetic diversity. However, once the ibex mature to the age when they begin competing for reproductive mates (7 to 12), horn length varies according to genetic diversity: the greater the diversity, the greater the length of the horns.

The researchers believe the horn length discrepancies are evidence to support the mutation accumulation theory of ageing, which is the idea that, because natural selection weakens with age, genetic mutations have effects that accumulate over time. Therefore, differences in genetic quality become more apparent as an organism ages.

Coltman noted that his study, which incorporated genetic samples from more than 150 ibex, took into account the fact that environmental factors also play a role in determining ibex horn size.

The ibex's horns are considered a "secondary sexual trait". Researchers believe the horns help males successfully mate because they display genetic quality to females and also help to "win" physical battles and achieve high social rank among their competitors.

"We've learned from other species, such as deer and sheep, that horn or antler size can be a good indicator of an individual's quality and reproductive success," Coltman said. "We wanted to see if t he same could be said for alpine ibex, and we found that it can."

The researchers were particularly intrigued about the ibex's horns because they are costly for an ibex to produce and maintain.

"[The horns] require a lot of energy to build and then carry around. They can be a meter long and are quite heavy, and the ibex carries them for their lifetime, unlike antlers which are shed every year. They also cause the ibex to lose heat in winter, because their core is heavily vascularized."

Found exclusively in the Alps mountain range in Europe, alpine ibex were hunted almost to extinction about a century ago for sport and the purported pharmacological properties of their horns. The last survivors were protected in an Italian national park, and the species has slowly repopulated and today is no longer considered endangered.


'"/>

Source:University of Alberta


Related biology news :

1. Bigger brain size matters for intellectual ability
2. Female pronghorns choose mate based on substance as well as show
3. Vanishing beetle horns have surprise function
4. Tetracycline plus teeth equal gray smile
5. Chemists create Superbowl molecule; May lead to better health
6. Protein discovery could unlock the secret to better TB treatment
7. Signaling protein builds bigger, better bones in mice
8. Harnessing microbes, one by one, to build a better nanoworld
9. Two are better than one
10. Discovery may lead to better Candidiasis drug
11. Insects, viruses could hold key for better human teamwork in disasters

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/17/2016)... , March 17, 2016 ABI Research, ... forecasts the global biometrics market will reach more ... 118% increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, ... fingerprint sensors anticipated to reach two billion shipments ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - Renvoi : ... - --> --> ... solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales ... LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire des ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ... (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at the ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using ... and will run until May 2016. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Despite the volatility that continues to envelop the ... research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor community,s focus on the ... ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS ), Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). Register with us today ... On Wednesday, shares in Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, ... ... assay development and manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the ... As a result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Diego area and has consistently been rated one of its top attractions. Fortune ... the globe to participate in a unique and intimate team-building experience. , Each event ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The Ankle ... plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This ... Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that span ...
Breaking Biology Technology: