Daughters could pay the price for the mother’s love of tall, dark, ruggedly handsome men – as they could end up inheriting his macho traits.
Scientists have discovered that the offspring of a beautiful couple have up to a 70 per cent likelihood of being attractive.
But when a beautiful women falls for a burly man the attractiveness of her daughter may suffer as she inherits some of her father’s manliness, the Daily Mail reported.
However, the combination is likely to produce some strapping sons.
Professor Tim Bates, from Edinburgh University, who led the research, said that the simplest analysis was that if you wanted beautiful children you should look for an attractive lover.
But if a woman was attracted to a man on the basis of his masculinity “she would be possibly making her sons more appealing but equally making her daughters less attractive,” he said.
Women are therefore unlikely to evolve preferences for highly masculine men because this could act to the detriment of their children, he said.
For the study, published in the journal Behavior Genetics, eight judges assessed the attractiveness of 1,580 people aged between 15 and 22.
Disproving the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the judges agreed on the ratings 90 per cent of the time.
From the analysis they concluded that children get their good looks from good parental genes.
Aspects of inherited attractiveness included healthy hair and skin, height, and a symmetrical face.
Professor Bates, who says that people pass on a “mixture” to their children, added: “But some things are valued in one sex, and either not valued or actually not liked in the other.
“Very masculine fathers will be passing that “masculine look” on to their daughters, and that won’t help when people come to rate their attractiveness.”