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Trends Ecol Evol. 1998 Oct 1;13(10):391-6.

Chemical signals and parasite-mediated sexual selection.

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Dept of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840, USA.


Research into visual and acoustic signals has demonstrated that exaggerated sexual displays often provide an honest indicator of a male's resistance to parasites. Recent studies with rodents and humans now suggest that chemosensory signals also reveal a male's disease resistance and his genetic compatibility. Our understanding of sexual selection has been greatly enriched by considering the mechanisms underlying visual and acoustic displays, and recent advances in chemical communication will help to determine what kind of information is revealed by an individual's scent.


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