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Semiochemical compounds of preen secretion reflect genetic make-up in a seabird species

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

By:
, , , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1611

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Abstract

Several vertebrates choose their mate according to genetic heterozygosity and relatedness, and use odour cues to assess their conspecifics' genetic make-up. In birds, although several species (including the blacklegged kittiwake) exhibit non-random mating according to genetic traits, the cues used to assess genetic characteristics remain unknown. The importance of olfaction in birds' social behaviour is gaining attention among researchers, and it has been suggested that, as in other vertebrates, bird body scent may convey information about genetic traits. Here, we combined gas chromatography data and genetic analyses at microsatellite loci to test whether semiochemical messages in preen secretion of kittiwakes carried information about genetic heterozygosity and relatedness. Semiochemical profile was correlated with heterozygosity in males and females, while semiochemical distance was correlated with genetic distance only in male-male dyads. Our study is the first to demonstrate a link between odour and genetics in birds, which sets the stage for the existence of sophisticated odour-based mechanisms of mate choice also in birds. ?? 2011 The Royal Society.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Semiochemical compounds of preen secretion reflect genetic make-up in a seabird species
Series title:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2011.1611
Volume
279
Issue:
1731
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
First page:
1185
Last page:
1193
Number of Pages:
9