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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>