Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bird virus less dangerous to attractive birds

20.03.2006


A research team at Uppsala University has shown in a new study that the size of the spot on a collared flycatcher’s forehead is important in the choice of a mating partner and reflects how well the immune defense system combats viruses. The findings are being presented on the home page of the journal Acta Zoologica on March 18 and in the print edition on March 20.



Evolutionary biologists have long attempted to explain why individuals of a species differ in appearance and why the choice of a mate is influenced by behavior and appearance features that cannot reasonably be thought to have any usefulness. Therefore, they have begun to look more and more at the genetics behind what are called secondary sexual characteristics, such as the tail of a peacock, the stripes of the female deep-snouted pipefish, and the white spot on the forehead of the collared flycatcher. In many species both males and females prefer to mate with those who have the largest or most colorful of these ornaments or who have the most complex song, for instance.

One theory says that the ornaments are clearest on individuals that are in good health and that both the size and the condition of the ornament are hereditary. This leads to the question of why evolution did not select the same appearance and good health for all individuals. Is there something in the environment that is constantly changing and can govern the genetics of appearance and health, leading, instead, to diversity?


“More and more evidence indicates that the most changeable part of the environment consists of parasites, bacteria and viruses. All of these, especially viruses, evolve more rapidly than the hosts whose resources they live off of. The host will therefore always be in an important evolutionary race against its diseases,” explains Måns Andersson, who directs the research team.

In earlier studies, Andersson and Professor Lars Gustafsson have shown that male Gotlandian collared flycatchers with few dangerous blood parasites have larger forehead spots. The new study shows that males that are vaccinated against Newcastle virus produce more antibodies if they have large forehead spots.

“Thus it seems that the female uses the forehead spot as a health indicator. When she chooses a male with a large spot on his forehead, she is selecting not only the healthiest male but also the one with the best immune defense against viruses.”

The study also shows that the male collared flycatcher can change the size of the forehead spot during the mating season and that males that unfurl their forehead spots most are those that produce the most antibodies. The findings not only enhance our understanding of why animals behave and look the way they do but also help explain why animals that choose their own mates produce healthier offspring than animals whose mates are selected by humans.

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0001-7272&site=1
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>