Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The secret of male beauty (in turkeys)

Date:
August 15, 2013
Source:
University College London - UCL
Summary:
The essence of male beauty is down to the way males use their genes rather than what genes they have, according to a new study into the sexual attractiveness of turkeys.

The essence of male beauty is down to the way males use their genes rather than what genes they have, according to a new study into the sexual attractiveness of turkeys.

Geneticists have long puzzled over why individuals of the same sex show a greater or lesser degree of sexual attractiveness. In other words - why are some people better looking than others when they’re genetically similar?

In a new study, published today in the journal PLoS Genetics, scientists turned to male wild turkeys to solve the problem. They found that among turkeys that are brothers (and therefore share the majority of their genes), ‘dominant’ males show higher expression of genes predominantly found in males, and a lower expression of genes predominantly found in females, than their subordinate brothers.

Therefore, dominant males were both masculinised and defeminised in terms of their gene expression. A male’s attractiveness is a function of how they express their genes, rather than the genes themselves.

Professor Judith Mank, UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment, senior author of the paper said: “Sexual attractiveness varies markedly between individuals of the same sex. These differences can have a significant impact on how successful an individual is with the opposite sex.

“Here, we have shown that male beauty is a result of how you use your genes, rather than the difference in the genes themselves.

“Even though humans don’t have clear dominant and subordinate types, they do exhibit a range of sexual dimorphisms – some individuals are more attractive to the opposite sex than others.”

Male wild turkeys come in two kinds; dominant males have exaggerated sexually attractive traits while subordinate males are less ornate.

Whether a male is dominant or subordinate is determined the winter before they reach sexual maturity, when brothers come together and battle for dominance. The ‘winner’ adopts the dominant form, while the other brothers become subordinate – assisting their brother in mating, but not siring offspring themselves.

Scientists are still unsure of the process by which some male turkeys become dominant or submissive, but suspect that the concentration of male hormones, or androgens, may play a role in gene expression.

Professor Mank added: “We expect to find a similar effect in females, in that more attractive females may show a higher expression of genes predominantly found in females and lower expression of male genes.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Pointer MA, Harrison PW, Wright AE, Mank JE. Masculinization of Gene Expression Is Associated with Exaggeration of Male Sexual Dimorphism. PLoS Genet, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003697

Cite This Page:

University College London - UCL. "The secret of male beauty (in turkeys)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172229.htm>.
University College London - UCL. (2013, August 15). The secret of male beauty (in turkeys). ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172229.htm
University College London - UCL. "The secret of male beauty (in turkeys)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172229.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
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