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 Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

nachricht Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>