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Scent of a Male

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 @ 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

Cheryl S. Asa, Ph.D., Fellow and 2009 Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Fellows Award recipient, Academy of Science – St. Louis; Director of Research, Saint Louis Zoo

How do animals, including humans, find the right mate? In most species females do the choosing. They look for males that are attractive, which can mean different things in different species; but females also look for males that are a good genetic match. A male with “good genes” may be attractive to most, if not all females; but if he’s a close relative, he won’t be a good genetic match. That means females also need to determine a male’s genetic distance to avoid inbreeding. When searching for the best match, females respond to subtle differences in male scent; and the way this genetically determined “odor fingerprint” affects a female, appears to be similar across species, including humans. Female cheetahs are notorious for being choosy, so the Saint Louis Zoo is studying how they use male scent marks to pick the best genetic match. Reproductive biologist, Dr. Cheryl Asa, talks about the nature and chemistry of pairing up.

Photo © John Storjohann, courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

All Seminars are held in The Living World (north side of Zoo)

Parking FREE in Zoo North Lot.


For more information call 314-533-8586 or email mbauer@academyofsciencestl.org

Science Seminar Series Co-sponsored by:


Wednesday, October 7, 2009
7:30 PM-9:00 PM
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