Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Why some people are more attractive than others

Paradox of evolutionary theory, often cited by creationists, is explained at last

Researchers believe they have solved a mystery that has puzzled evolutionary scientists for years ... if 'good' genes spread through the population, why are individuals so different?

The so-called 'lek paradox', that sexually-selecting species like humans should have much less individuality than is the case, has been seized upon by creationists as an argument that Darwin's theories are fundamentally flawed.

The problem with current evolutionary theory is that if females select the most attractive mates, the genes responsible for attractive features should spread quickly through a population, resulting in males becoming equally attractive, to the point where sexual selection could no longer take place.

... more about:
»DNA »Petrie »attractive »genetic diversity »repair »sexual

However, new research by Professor Marion Petrie and Dr Gilbert Roberts at Newcastle University, England, suggests that sexual selection can in fact cause greater genetic diversity by a mechanism not previously understood.

Professor Petrie theorised that since genetic mutations can occur anywhere in the genome, some will affect the 'DNA repair kit' possessed by all cells. As a result, some individuals have less efficient repair kits, resulting in greater variation in their DNA as damage does unrepaired.

Although unrepaired DNA is generally harmful - causing tissue to degenerate or develop cancers - it is useful in some parts of the genome, such as those parts resposible for disease defence where variation can help in the resistance to disease. It has long been known that greater variation of DNA in the disease defending regions makes it more likely that an individual can resist attacks by bacteria and viruses.

Using a computer model to map the spread of genes in a population, Professor Petrie demonstrated that the tendency towards reduction in genetic diversity caused by sexual selection is outweighed by the maintenance in greater genetic diversity generated by mutations affecting DNA repair.

The research is published today (28 March 2007) in the academic journal, Heredity, part of the Nature Publishing Group.

Professor Petrie, of the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the School of Biology at Newcastle University, said: 'We started this research ten years ago and our model has now produced a good fit with what we observe in terms of genetic variation, which leads us to believe that our theory is correct.' 'We find that sexual selection can promote genetic diversity despite expectations to the contrary.'

In 2005, Professor Petrie and colleagues demonstrated that men with greater genetic diversity in disease defence regions of the genome — and therefore better prospects of passing disease resistance to their offspring — had a number of physical features which women found attractive. The research involved testing men for genetic diversity and showing photographs of them to women, who allocated scores for attractiveness. These scores were found to correlate strongly to genetic diversity.

Marion Petrie | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: DNA Petrie attractive genetic diversity repair sexual

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>