Figure 2.

Model of gene-odor covariance for the reliable assessment of kinship. Chemical distance between pairs of animals based on all volatile compounds in a scent correlates with genetic distance (a), but variance will be high for any particular genetic distance because some compounds are likely to be strongly influenced by non-genetic factors such as current hormone levels and bacterial flora. Instead, selective assessment of specific semiochemicals within the scent that correlate strongly with genotype (b) will provide a much more reliable assessment of kinship.

Hurst and Beynon Journal of Biology 2010 9:13   doi:10.1186/jbiol221
Download authors' original image