Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Like Father, Like Son: Attractiveness Is Hereditary

Date:
November 20, 2007
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Sexy dads produce sexy sons, in the insect world at least. While scientists already knew that specific attractive traits, from cricket choruses to peacocks' tails, are passed on to their offspring, the heritability of attractiveness as a whole is more contentious. Now, new research shows that attractiveness is hereditary.

Sexy dads produce sexy sons, in the insect world at least. While scientists already knew that specific attractive traits, from cricket choruses to peacocks' tails, are passed on to their offspring, the heritability of attractiveness as a whole is more contentious. Now, new research by the University of Exeter shows that attractiveness is hereditary.

The research team, based on the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus, focused on the fruitfly Drosophila simulans. They paired up males and females at random and found the length of time it took for them to mate ranged from just two minutes to two hours. Female fruitflies need to make themselves accessible to males for mating to take place, so males cannot force copulation. Therefore, the speed at which mating occurs can be taken as an indication of the attractiveness of the male to his female partner.

After males had mated with around three females each, their sons who were full and half brothers, were paired with single females. Again, the time for copulation to occur was recorded. This allowed the researchers to look at the genetic component of attractiveness. They found that attractiveness is hereditary, passed on from father to son. Previous research has shown that females that mate with attractive males do not produce more offspring than those mating with less desirable males. This study indicates that one benefit females may enjoy by mating with attractive males is that they will produce 'sexy' sons, which are more likely to be successful in mating.

Dr David Hosken of the University of Exeter said: "Attractiveness probably can't be defined by individual characteristics, so there is no single physical attribute that female fruitflies are looking for in a mate. However, there is clearly a benefit to females in having sexy sons that are more likely to attract a mate and produce offspring."

Having now shown that attractiveness can be passed on from father to son, the research team believes that the findings could apply to other species. Although not tested, Dr Hosken believes his findings could be applied to humans: "It's possible that attractiveness is hereditable across the animal kingdom. It could even be the case in humans that the sexiest dads also have the most desirable sons, which would probably be bad news for my boy."

This research was published November 20 in Current Biology.

This research was funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Like Father, Like Son: Attractiveness Is Hereditary." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119213948.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2007, November 20). Like Father, Like Son: Attractiveness Is Hereditary. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119213948.htm
University of Exeter. "Like Father, Like Son: Attractiveness Is Hereditary." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119213948.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins