In biology mating is the pairing of opposite sex or hermaphroditic organism for the purposes of reproduction. However, it differs from one species to another. For animals mating strategies vary and they include random mating, assortative mating, and disassortative mating to a mating pool. Assortative mating is a kind of mating in animals that can be designated as the nonrandom mating whereby an individual with similar genotypes or phenotypes mate with one another more frequently than what would be expected under a random mating pattern.
Assortative mating occurs in many circumstances. For instance, it is common for individuals of comparable body size to mate with one another. In some occasions, negative disassortative mating also takes place, whereby individuals with diverse features mate more frequently than what would take place in random mating cases. Noteworthy, assortative mating does not change the frequency of individual alleles; however it increases the proportion of homozygous individuals [those who have identical alleles of the genes on both chromosomes].
There are numerous characteristics that make it easy to understand what assortative mating is all about. In essence, this is a type of mating that occurs on a variety of normal and abnormal characteristics and may strengthen the mating bond to increase fertility. The mating strategy in many occasions may work to increase genetic relatedness allowing exceptional communication and altruism. The main impact of assortative mating is to increase inclusive fitness. This means that the sum fitness of the individual and all of the individual offspring.
Inbreeding sometimes takes place between individuals who are too genetically related or similar and it reduces fitness by putting an individual at a greater risk of dangerous recessive traits. Genetic diversification is an adaptive strategy in the random environment, whereas decreasing genetic diversity will also provide stability in the probable environs. Assortative mating can also work miracles when it comes to sympatric speciation, the evolution of a new species without geographic isolation. On the other side, isolated mating through assortative mating can also aid in speciation. Assortative mating in human beings occurs in a number of ways and on many dimensions. This includes religious beliefs, age, intelligence, socioeconomic status and political ideologies among others.
Many studies have been undertaken by researchers globally. For instance, researchers in University of Vienna in 2011 found out that marriages between men and women with equivalent levels of education were less likely to suffer from any reproductive failures. Assortative mating also plays a role in the number of children diagnosed with autism [a disorder characterized with social deficits and communication troubles and cognitive delays among other traits].
The American robin is believed to practice assortative mating on plumage color, melanin based trait. In the female American robins, it is believed that dark plumage displays reproductive performance whereas the dark plumage in males designates health and decreased parental investment. Through positive assortative mating, it is believed to be the cause of the speciation especially on the daughter species from the parent species of coral-dwelling goby fish. All in all, positive assortative mating exist when people choose to marry persons with similar traits or similar to themselves whereas negative assortative mating is the opposite case.
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