Mating and Utrasound Communication
Mate recognition and mate choice in house mice has long been thought to be driven by olfactory cues, either conveyed by MHC peptides or major urinary proteins. However, in the past years it has become clear that mice use also ultrasonic communication to convey mating signals.
Status of the project
We found that populations that have been separated for only a few thousand years can already discriminate each other under semi-natural environment conditions. Most interestingly, we found that paternally provided cues must play a role in this (PhD Project of Inka Montero). Such cues could be provided through male specific songs in the ultrasonic range. Christine Pfeifle and Sophie von Merten have therefore recorded song patterns from various populations and subspecies to identify diagnostic differences between them. We are currently also conducting a test whether different variants of Foxp2 could play a role in mate choice under appropriate conditions.