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Female rose bitterling prefer MHC-dissimilar males: experimental evidence

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    0379065 - ÚBO 2013 RIV US eng J - Journal Article
    Reichard, Martin - Spence, R. - Bryjová, Anna - Bryja, Josef - Smith, C.
    Female rose bitterling prefer MHC-dissimilar males: experimental evidence.
    PLoS ONE. Roč. 7, č. 7 (2012), e40780. E-ISSN 1932-6203
    R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/1163
    Institutional support: RVO:68081766
    Keywords : major histocompatibility complex * mate choice * sexual selection * good genes * reproductive success * compatible genes * polymorphism * evolution
    Subject RIV: EG - Zoology
    Impact factor: 3.730, year: 2012

    The role of genetic benefits in female mate choice remains a controversial aspect of sexual selection theory. In contrast to "good allele" models of sexual selection, "compatible allele" models of mate choice predict that females prefer mates with alleles complementary to their own rather than conferring additive effects. While correlative results suggest complementary genetic effects to be plausible, direct experimental evidence is scarce. A previous study on the Chinese rose bitterling (Rhodeus ocellatus) demonstrated a positive correlation between female mate choice, offspring growth and survival, and the functional dissimilarity between the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) alleles of males and females. Here we directly tested whether females used cues associated with MHC genes to select genetically compatible males in an experimental framework. By sequentially pairing females with MHC similar and dissimilar males, based on a priori known MHC profiles, we showed that females discriminated between similar and dissimilar males and deposited significantly more eggs with MHC dissimilar males. Notably, the degree of dissimilarity was an important factor for female decision to mate, possibly indicating a potential threshold value of dissimilarity for decision making, or of an indirect effect of the MHC.
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