Heres why redheads produce more sons

March 20th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Mar 20 (ANI): Given a choice, a female Gouldian finch will go for her own kind, mating with the male with the same head colour as her black. However, if a redhead is her only option, she will produce many more sons than daughters after mating.

Australian researchers studying the breeding patterns of the coloured Gouldian finch have found that females of the species deliberately overproduce sons when breeding with a male of a different head colour.

The research is the best evidence yet that birds can control the sex of their offspring.

With the help of some black dye, to cover up the red and trick the females, the researchers showed that the female Gouldian finches determined their offspring’’s sex based on the male appearance alone.

When black females thought they were mating with black males they had about equal numbers of sons and daughters.

A Macquarie University biologist, Sarah Pryke, said there was no chemical or genetic interaction between the parents at work.

“Change the colour of the male’’s head with dye and the sex ratio changes,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Pryke, as saying.

She said her study raised the question of whether other animals, perhaps even humans, have this ability to influence whether boys or girls are born.

“This discovery will change our understanding of sex determination across the animal kingdom,” Pryke said.

The study is published in the journal Science. (ANI)

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