alexa Lifetime reproductive success is maximized with optimal major histocompatibility complex diversity.
Immunology

Immunology

Immunogenetics: Open Access

Author(s): Martin Kalbe, Christophe Eizaguirre, Ilka Dankert, Thorsten B H Reusch, Ralf D Sommerfeld

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Individual diversity at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is predicted to be optimal at intermediate rather than at maximal levels. We showed previously in sticklebacks that an intermediate MHC diversity is predominant in natural populations and provides maximal resistance in experimental multiple parasite infections in the laboratory. However, what counts ultimately is the lifetime reproductive success (LRS). Here, we measured LRS of six laboratory-bred sib-groups-to minimize the influence of non-MHC genes-three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) during their entire breeding period, each in a seminatural enclosure in the lake of their parents, where they were exposed to the natural spectrum of parasites. We collected developing clutches at regular intervals and determined parenthood for a representative number of eggs (2279 in total) per clutch with 18 microsatellites. Both males and females with an intermediate MHC class IIB variant number had the highest LRS. The mechanistic link of MHC diversity and LRS differed between the sexes: in females, we found evidence for a trade-off between number of eggs and immunocompentence, whereas in males this correlation was concealed by different timing strategies of reproduction.

This article was published in Proc Biol Sci. and referenced in Immunogenetics: Open Access

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