Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The birdy smell of a compatible partner

Date:
September 7, 2012
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
New evidence shows that birds may choose their mate with the help of smell. They prefer a dissimilar mate because this gives their young a more efficient immune system.

New evidence shows that birds may choose their mate with the help of smell. They prefer a dissimilar mate because this gives their young a more efficient immune system. This has been shown in a new study by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, in a Swedish-French collaboration.

Humans and many animals can choose a suitable mate by smell. Choosing a mate with the right smell can give the offspring an efficient immune system. This is because each individual's smell can be said to reflect information on the individual's genes. By finding the mate whose genes best match one's own, the chances are higher that offspring will have greater resistance to a range of parasite attacks and other diseases.

Unlike many animals, birds have been considered to have a poor sense of smell, but there are exceptions. Blue petrels are Antarctic seabirds with an unusually good sense of smell. They can recognise their mate and their nest using smell alone, and return to their nests under cover of darkness. A group of scientists, including researchers from Lund University, have now shown that the nose of the blue petrel is even capable of smelling which mate will produce young with the best immune systems.

"The study is a collaboration between researchers here in Lund and researchers in France. My contribution has been my knowledge of how to identify and compare genes from different individuals," says Maria Strandh, a researcher at the Department of Biology at Lund University.

Blue petrels are long-lived and monogamous birds.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Strandh, H. Westerdahl, M. Pontarp, B. Canback, M.-P. Dubois, C. Miquel, P. Taberlet, F. Bonadonna. Major histocompatibility complex class II compatibility, but not class I, predicts mate choice in a bird with highly developed olfaction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1562

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "The birdy smell of a compatible partner." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072328.htm>.
Lund University. (2012, September 7). The birdy smell of a compatible partner. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072328.htm
Lund University. "The birdy smell of a compatible partner." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907072328.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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