Friday, November 30, 2007

Scientists Find Genes in Fish that Lures Females Into Mating

Scientist in Germany have recently discovered genes in male cichilds that are essential for reproduction. At the University of Konstanz, 19 cichild fishes were gathered for the study. Cichilds are known to mate in a way that many may find amusing. The male will deposit its sperm inside the females mouth. To achieve such feat the males have evolved yellow pigment cells on their anal fins. This is crucial for reproduction and now researchers have discovered the gene associated with the development of these cells.
The importance of these yellow cells are quite simple. They act as egg dummies, which means that they lead the females into believing that they are actual eggs. In this specie females will carry eggs in her mouth after she has laid them. The spots on males attract females that attempt to pick them up under the impression that these are actual eggs. Once the female is close enough, the male proceeds in releasing sperm fertilizing the eggs that the female carries in her mouth.
The gene is called colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor, and is believed to be the same one found in relatives of the cichild that exhibit this same trait. Furthermore, the discovery of this gene aids in finding out more about distant related species that have a similar mechanism. Some species not related to the cichild have the same type of spots in the pectoral fins. This can lead to a genetic pathway that could explain this morphogenesis in different species.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071115083711.htm

Bruno Karam (10)

96 Comments:

At 6:40 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is a really interesting topic - I've never heard of this mating system before. It's strange that the female seems to have no desire to mate but has to be tricked into it. What does this fish look like besides having yellow anal fins?

Christina Breed (10)

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very appropriate for our discussion of elaborate characters of males and how they benefit their fitness. I'm also surprised that there is no driving force for females to procreate, i suppose necessity IS the mother of invention.




Posted by -MJP-

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Interesting article. Really relates to what we've been talking about in lecture, both with male display and females looking for certain stimuli in a male that makes them want to mate with them.

Post by Elizabeth Adams

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger PWH said...

It is very interesting how evolution has added these spots on the pectoral fins of the males so that they persuade the females into mating with them. I would assume that there is a certain selection into which spots are better, for example that the males that have a higher standing in the hierarchy would have more spots or bigger ones. Very cool to see what we are talking specifically in class relates to the "real world" of animals.

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