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Complex Mhc-based mate choice in a wild passerine

Author:
  • C Bonneaud
  • O Chastel
  • P Federici
  • Helena Westerdahl
  • G Sorci
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 1111-1116
Publication/Series: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volume: 273
Issue: 1590
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

The extreme polymorphism of the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex (Mhc) is famous for protecting hosts against constantly evolving pathogens. Mate choice is often evoked as a means of maintaining Mhc variability through avoidance of partners with similar Mhc alleles or preference for heterozygotes. Evidence for these two hypotheses mostly comes from studies on humans and laboratory mice. Here, we tested these hypotheses in a wild outbred population of house sparrows (Passer domesticus). Females were not more or less closely related to the males they paired with when considering neutral genetic variation. However, males failed to form breeding pairs when they had too few Mhc alleles and when they were too dissimilar from females at Mhc loci (i.e. had no common alleles). Furthermore, pairs did not form at random as Mhc diversity positively correlated in mating pairs. These results suggest that mate choice evolves in response to (i) benefits in terms of parasite resistance acquired from allelic diversity, and (ii) costs associated with the disruption of co-adapted genes.

Keywords

  • Biological Sciences

Other

Published
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1471-2954
Helena Westerdahl
E-mail: helena [dot] westerdahl [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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MEMEG

+46 46 222 36 69

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Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

Research fellows

Postdocs

Luz Garcia-Longoria

PhD students, main supervisor

Samantha Mellinger

PhD students, assistant supervisor

Gustaf Ekelund Ugge

Helena Westerdahl w house sparrow