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:2/11/2016)... to new research from Acuity Market Intelligence, biometric ... iris, and eye-vein biometric smartphones have been introduced ... includes market leaders Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, TCL, ... million biometric smartphones are currently in use representing ... Maxine Most , Acuity Market Intelligence Principal, "This ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces today that its license plate ... by Lee,s Summit Police Department to ... arrest of a homicide suspect. Kansas City ... 65 square miles and is home to roughly 100,000 residents. ... single mobile license plate reader system and also leverages Vigilant,s ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... February 10, 2016 ... to 2016 iris recognition market report, combined ... is more widely accepted for border control. ... fingerprint and iris recognition technology in a ... avoid purchasing two individual biometrics devices. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 ... ... 7-10, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, will include 848 ... These leading companies will be displaying products and services used by the ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... LAKES, N.J. , Feb. 12, 2016  BD ... leading global medical technology company, today announced the launch ... in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) Meeting. ... CLiC System enables genomic research by providing cost effective ... CLiC System is a high-throughput, fully integrated, next generation ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 2016  PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTCT ... to Realize Innovation, Vision and Empowerment) grant award ... funds to patient advocacy organizations to develop unique ... to the rare disease community by increasing awareness, ... advocates. Mary Frances Harmon , ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... MedGenome,s Commitment Will Help ... of Complex Diseases Such as Cancer, Metabolic Disorders, ... --> --> MedGenome, the market ... leading provider of genomics research services globally, today ... GenomeAsia 100K consortium as a founding member. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: