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VERKUIL YI & PIERSMA T (2016) Genetic accidents explain the origin of three male types in Ruffs Philomachus pugnax. LIMOSA 89 (4): 154-162.

Recently two articles about Ruffs were published in Nature Genetics (K├╝pper et al. 2016, Lamichhaney et al. 2016). International teams mapped the genomes of Ruffs aiming to find an explanation for their peculiar and complex mating system with three types of males: independents, satellites and faeders. Ruffs show remarkable trait variation with each ornamented male sporting a unique plumage (van Rhijn 2014). However, within male types, plumage, behaviour, size and even physiology are strongly correlated. Why are these combinations of traits so rigidly fixed into just three male types? In the article we review the Nature Genetics studies, of which we were part of, and reveal surprising answers, opening new avenues for genetic and ecological studies.

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limosa 89.4 2016
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