mate choice

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The situation where an animal (generally a female) chooses as a mate a specific individual from a small group within the species. Mate choice by females has been observed in insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Selection involving mate choice plays a major role in the evolution of many sexually dimorphic characters seen in animals. The genetic changes induced by mate choice occur in quite small subspecific populations, and the factors that control choice behavior generally show quantitative inheritance (q.v.). See arena-breeding birds, courtship ritual, lek, sexual selection. Contrast with random mating.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.

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