Estimating the sex-specific effects of genes on facial attractiveness and sexual dimorphism

Mitchem, Dorian G., Purkey, Alicia M., Grebe, Nicholas M., Carey, Gregory, Garver-Apgar, Christine E., Bates, Timothy C., Arden, Rosalind, Hewitt, John K., Medland, Sarah E., Martin, Nicholas G., Zietsch, Brendan P. and Keller, Matthew C. (2013) Estimating the sex-specific effects of genes on facial attractiveness and sexual dimorphism. Behavior Genetics, 44 3: 270-281. doi:10.1007/s10519-013-9627-5

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Author Mitchem, Dorian G.
Purkey, Alicia M.
Grebe, Nicholas M.
Carey, Gregory
Garver-Apgar, Christine E.
Bates, Timothy C.
Arden, Rosalind
Hewitt, John K.
Medland, Sarah E.
Martin, Nicholas G.
Zietsch, Brendan P.
Keller, Matthew C.
Title Estimating the sex-specific effects of genes on facial attractiveness and sexual dimorphism
Journal name Behavior Genetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0001-8244
Publication date 2013-11-10
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10519-013-9627-5
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 44
Issue 3
Start page 270
End page 281
Total pages 12
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Human facial attractiveness and facial sexual dimorphism (masculinity–femininity) are important facets of mate choice and are hypothesized to honestly advertise genetic quality. However, it is unclear whether genes influencing facial attractiveness and masculinity–femininity have similar, opposing, or independent effects across sex, and the heritability of these phenotypes is poorly characterized. To investigate these issues, we assessed facial attractiveness and facial masculinity–femininity in the largest genetically informative sample (n = 1,580 same- and opposite-sex twin pairs and siblings) to assess these questions to date. The heritability was ~0.50–0.70 for attractiveness and ~0.40–0.50 for facial masculinity–femininity, indicating that, despite ostensible selection on genes influencing these traits, substantial genetic variation persists in both. Importantly, we found evidence for intralocus sexual conflict, whereby alleles that increase masculinity in males have the same effect in females. Additionally, genetic influences on attractiveness were shared across the sexes, suggesting that attractive fathers tend to have attractive daughters and attractive mothers tend to have attractive sons.
Keyword Facial attractiveness
Mate choice
Sexual selection
Intralocus sexual conflict
Evolutionary genetics
Twin and family studies
Sex limitation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 10 November 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 18 Mar 2014, 03:58:33 EST by Mr Brendan Zietsch on behalf of School of Psychology