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Reliability of odour-genes covariance despite diet changes: a test in mound-building mice


Raynaud, Julien; Messaoudi, Frederic; Gouat, Patrick (2012). Reliability of odour-genes covariance despite diet changes: a test in mound-building mice. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 106(3):682-688.

Abstract

Odour–genes covariance (i.e. that individual odour similarities covary with genetic similarity) allows animals to assess their genetic relatedness to one another by comparing the similarities between their individual odours. The reliability of the odour–gene covariance phenomenon under environmental changes has not yet been explored. Using an innovative habituation-generalization procedure, we tested whether the modifications of body odours induced by a change in diet interfered with the perceived similarity of individual odours of more genetically similar individuals. The effects of a change in diet, by adding aniseed flavour to the drinking water, was assessed in male mound-building mice, a species in which odour–genes covariance has already been demonstrated. The results obtained indicate that mice perceive more similarities in the odours of sibling males than in those of nonrelatives, despite the effects of diet on body odours. We suggest that the reliability of signals arising from odour–genes covariance is likely a result of the independence between traits indicating genetic relatedness and indicator signals of biological states (e.g. diet) in body odours.

Odour–genes covariance (i.e. that individual odour similarities covary with genetic similarity) allows animals to assess their genetic relatedness to one another by comparing the similarities between their individual odours. The reliability of the odour–gene covariance phenomenon under environmental changes has not yet been explored. Using an innovative habituation-generalization procedure, we tested whether the modifications of body odours induced by a change in diet interfered with the perceived similarity of individual odours of more genetically similar individuals. The effects of a change in diet, by adding aniseed flavour to the drinking water, was assessed in male mound-building mice, a species in which odour–genes covariance has already been demonstrated. The results obtained indicate that mice perceive more similarities in the odours of sibling males than in those of nonrelatives, despite the effects of diet on body odours. We suggest that the reliability of signals arising from odour–genes covariance is likely a result of the independence between traits indicating genetic relatedness and indicator signals of biological states (e.g. diet) in body odours.

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1 citation in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:July 2012
Deposited On:27 Dec 2012 10:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:10
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0024-4066
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2012.01888.x

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