Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When it comes to mating behavior of the ruff its all in the genes

Using Genome sequences, researchers at the University of Sheffield have identified a 'super gene' that  determines the mating behaviors of certain ruff birds.  The ruff birds display three distinct types of mating behaviors: territorial males, non-territorial 'satellite' males, and 'cross dressing' males which mimic females.  A team of researchers identified a 'super gene' that contains a hundred or more genes which encodes for these distinct mating behaviors.  The researchers state the gene was created several million years ago due to chromosomal rearrangement which allowed the female mimics to coevolve with the territorial males.  They further state the alternative form of the super gene combined to give rise to the satellite males; the super gene encodes for multiple traits including hormones, feathering, color and size.

This article provides an interesting example of how genes can directly influence the behavior of animals and how the two ( genetics and behavior) are not mutually exclusive.  Furthermore this article also provides an excellent example of how evolution propagates the selection of advantageous  genes and how those genes are passed from one generation to the next.        

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