Attractive fathers do not pass their looks on to their sons but they will hand their good looks down to their daughters, research shows.
Psychologists have found that while both parents influence the attractiveness of their daughters, the attractiveness of male children is not inherited.
Handsome men with masculine looks are likely to pass on masculine features, but not facial attractiveness.
Prof David Perrett and Prof Elisabeth Cornwell, of the University of St Andrews, also said that a mother's beauty made no difference to the attractiveness of her sons as adults.
The theory suggests it is not unusual for attractive parents to produce a beautiful daughter while failing to pass on the same good looks to a son.
While many celebrity mothers produce stunning daughters - such as Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson or Jerry Hall and her daughter Georgia - the same is not necessarily true of celebrity fathers.
Sean Stewart, the son of Rod Stewart and his first wife Alana, would probably be judged less attractive than his model sister Kimberly.
Prof Perrett said it has previously been suggested that a woman could increase her own reproductive success by choosing a "sexy" mate whose genes would be passed on to male offspring, making them irresistible to the next generation.
But the new study, published in the current edition of the journal Animal Behaviour, contradicts the theory.
He said: "We checked to see if male and female facial traits are inherited. For the male line, we find that facial masculinity conforms to the rule 'like father - like son'. Masculine dads have masculine sons.
"But we did not find any evidence that facial attractiveness is passed from father to son.
"We are perplexed as to why we did not find any evidence for the inheritance of attractiveness in males, through either the female or male parent.
"The answer may be because women vary considerably in the extent to which they find masculinity attractive.
"We know that attractive feminine women show a strong preference for masculine male faces for long-term partners."
The researchers studied the family photo albums of students, collecting images of over 100 females and 100 males and their respective biological parents taken over several years.
The photos of each student, father and mother were rated separately for attractiveness, and for femininity/masculinity.
They found evidence that attractiveness passed from both father and mother to daughter, and also that attractive fathers were more likely to produce attractive, feminine daughters, whether the mother was attractive or not.
Earlier research in America found that attractive parents were 26 percent more likely to have a daughter than a son as their first child - a statistic apparently borne out by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's first child.
In that study the researches concluded that "beautiful parents have more daughters than ugly parents."
Source: China Daily\agencies