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 Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>