In DepthEvolution

The genes behind the sexiest birds on the planet

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Science  05 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6533, pp. 976-977
DOI: 10.1126/science.371.6533.976

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Summary

For a glimpse of the power of sexual selection, the dance of the golden-collared manakin is hard to beat. They court with their flashy plumage, loud wing clapping, and acrobatic leaps and twists to gain the fussy female's favor. Now, by studying the genomes of the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus) and its relatives, researchers are exploring the genes that drive these elaborate behaviors and traits. With four manakin genomes, and two already published, researchers are now able to describe the genetic underpinnings behind some of the birds' displays. In addition, by mapping traits and genes onto the manakin family tree, researchers are beginning to trace the stepwise genetic changes that led to the most elaborate displays and determine whether sexual selection works differently from natural selection.

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