Here, we report for the first time, to our knowledge, a strong correlation between a measure of individual genetic diversity and song complexity, a sexually selected male trait in sedge warblers, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus. We also find that females prefer to mate with males who will maximize this diversity in individual progeny. The genetic diversity of each offspring is further increased by means of nonrandom fertilization, as we also show that the fertilizing sperm contains a haplotype more genetically distant to that of the egg than expected by chance. These findings suggest that species' mating preferences may be subject to fine tuning aimed at increasing offspring viability through increased genetic diversity. This includes external and internal mechanisms of selection, even within the ejaculate of a single male.
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