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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
2-Mar-2009

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Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

It's in his smell

A female moth selects a mate based on the scent of his pheromones. An analysis of the pheromones used by the European Corn Borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis), featured in the open access journal BMC Biology, shows that females can discern a male's ancestry, age and possibly reproductive fitness from the chemical cocktail he exudes.

Jean-Marc Lassance and Christer Löfstedt from Lund University, Sweden, studied the influence of pheromones on mating preferences and carried out an analysis of the composition of the scent and genetic makeup of the animals involved. In addition, they compared the odour bouquet used by males with the scent used by females to attract potential mates. According to Lassance, "Our demonstration of pheromone-based female mate choice and identification of a male courtship pheromone in ECB is of particular importance because it may alter our understanding of the role of pheromones in species formation".

When the authors compared the pheromones of French, Hungarian, American, Slovenian populations and of an Asian sister species, they found that the changing compositions allow females to select for males of their own kind - reinforcing reproductive isolation, a step on the road to the formation of a new species. Lassance speculates that combined with the possible indication of genetic fitness, pheromones may be a driving force behind butterfly and moth evolution, "Populations differ by the presence/absence of a compound designated 'Z11-16:OAc', especially old males, which are the more likely to obtain females' favours. The evolution of mate choice in females from the investigated populations of France and Hungary may have been partly driven by this difference, since choosing males with the compound would result in less hybrid mating".

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Media Contact
Charlotte Webber
Press Office, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7631 9980
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Email: charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com

Notes to Editors

1. Images of the European Corn Borer are available:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/graphics/email/images/moths-with-symbols.jpg
http://www.biomedcentral.com/graphics/email/images/moths-no-sybmols.jpg
http://www.biomedcentral.com/graphics/email/images/Hairpencils.jpg
http://www.biomedcentral.com/graphics/email/images/ECB.jpg

2. Concerted evolution of male and female display traits in the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis
Jean-Marc Lassance and Christer Löfsedt
BMC Biology (in press)

During embargo, article can be accessed here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/8307192582213645_article.pdf?random=131265

After embargo, published article available at the journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcbiol/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

3. BMC Biology - the flagship biology journal of the BMC series - publishes research and methodology articles of special importance and broad interest in any area of biology and biomedical sciences. BMC Biology (ISSN 1741-7007) is covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Zoological Record, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

4. BioMed Central (www.biomedcentral.com) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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