Author(s): Schwensow N, Eberle M, Sommer S, Schwensow N, Eberle M, Sommer S
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Abstract The mechanisms and temporal aspects of mate choice according to genetic constitution are still puzzling. Recent studies indicate that fitness is positively related to diversity in immune genes (MHC). Both sexes should therefore choose mates of high genetic quality and/or compatibility. However, studies addressing the role of MHC diversity in pre- and post-copulatory mate choice decisions in wild-living animals are few. We investigated the impact of MHC constitution and of neutral microsatellite variability on pre- and post-copulatory mate choice in both sexes in a wild population of a promiscuous primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). There was no support for pre-copulatory male or female mate choice, but our data indicate post-copulatory mate choice that is associated with genetic constitution. Fathers had a higher number of MHC supertypes different from those of the mother than randomly assigned males. Fathers also had a higher amino acid distance to the females' MHC as well as a higher total number of MHC supertypes and a higher degree of microsatellite heterozygosity than randomly assigned males. Female cryptic choice may be the underlying mechanism that operates towards an optimization of the genetic constitution of offspring. This is the first study that provides support for the importance of the MHC constitution in post-copulatory mate choice in non-human primates.
This article was published in Proc Biol Sci
and referenced in Immunogenetics: Open Access