Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fathers are no role models

12.01.2010
Female zebra finches do not only differ in the way they chose their mate but also in their preference for a partner

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen investigated the influence of heritability versus sexual imprinting on mate choice by observing over 350 zebra finches. How female zebra finches chose their male is partly heritable, according to the scientists. However, the type of male the females prefer is neither determined by genes nor by early rearing effects (Evolution, January 11, 2010).

As in most animals, it is the zebra finch female that chooses the mating partner. Thereby, each female has her own individual preference - not different to us humans. These mating preferences can be heritable or they can result from sexual imprinting. This means for example, a female prefers a male that resembles her father. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen investigated for the first time the relative importance of the two factors for mate choice.

The researchers used an elaborate experimental design to separate the influence of genetically determined preference and the experiences made in the early life phase. More than 350 zebra finch chicks of one generation were raised with unrelated foster sisters from unrelated foster parents. This is why the researchers were then able to compare mate choice and mate preference of genetic sisters and foster sisters. When the zebra finches reached sexual maturity, the females could choose between two unrelated males in a set of experiments.

The Max Planck researchers found that the choice behavior of zebra finch females is partly influences by genes: genetic sisters chose their partners in a similar way regarding their activity pattern, the time spent with a male and the proportion of visits of the different males. Regarding the preference functions - i.e. which male to prefer - the researchers did not find any influence of genes or sexual imprinting. Both, the genetic and the foster sisters did not show more conformity in their partner preferences than females that are unrelated and raised separately. "So far, both mechanisms have been overestimated as factors for partner preference", says Wolfgang Forstmeier, one of the co-authors of the study. There have to be other explanations for individual partner preference than genetic relatedness or early sexual imprinting. The search for those reasons is a task for the future.

Contact:
Dr. Wolfgang Forstmeier
Department Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen
Tel. +49 (0)8157 932 - 346
E-mail: forstmeier@orn.mpg.de
Original work:
Holger Schielzeth, Elisabeth Bolund and Wolfgang Forstmeier
Heritability of and early environment effects on variation in mating preferences.

Evolution, January 11, 2010

Dr. Sabine Spehn | idw
Further information:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122678927/abstract
http://www.orn.mpg.de

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Taming 'wild' electrons in graphene

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>