Research NewsEvolutionary Biology

Females Pick Good Genes in Frogs, Flies

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1837
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1837b

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In the mid-1970s, some biologists theorized that, in species in which females tend to pick the most flamboyant male, even if he doesn't appear to have any other redeeming qualities, the exaggerated traits are a sign of less obvious "good genes" that will lead to fitter offspring. Now, on page 1928, researchers report that male tree frogs with long calls --known to be favored by females--sire higher quality young than do those with short calls. The work fits well with a handful of other studies analyzing good genes, including a study in stalk-eyed flies that links the long stalks preferred by females to an unusual genetic advantage in males.