Great tits inherit egg spots from mom | Science News

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Great tits inherit egg spots from mom

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6:21pm, November 22, 2004

After examining more than a thousand clutches of eggs, researchers at Oxford University in England say a female great tit inherits her eggshell pattern from her mother's side of the family.

Just what determines eggshell patterns has perplexed researchers. Cuckoos, for example, have evolved female lineages that mimic egg patterns of other species. The cuckoos swoop into nests of the birds whose eggshells they can fake and leave an egg for the nest owners to rear.

Egg mimicry would be easiest to explain if the gene for spottiness were on the female sex chromosome, so that genes inherited from the father wouldn't influence it. Research on the solid color of chicken eggs—a slightly different problem—revealed that hens lay brown or white eggs depending on several genes, none of them l

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