Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Genomic response to courtship serenade more about health than mating

Professor Michael Ritchie and Elina Immonen of the School of Biology examined the reaction to male courtship "song" in the genes expressed by female fruit flies. Although genes involved in signalling and olfaction (smell) responded, the strongest responses were in genes involved in immunity. The researchers believe this to be a reaction in anticipation of mating. Professor Ritchie said, “It seems that female preparation for mating may involve the rather unromantic anticipation of potential infection.” [full article] [press link]