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MHC-mediated mate choice increases parasite resistance in salmon
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Volume: 275, Issue: 1641, Pages: 1397 - 1403
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Natural (parasite-driven) and sexual selection are thought to maintain high polymorphism in the genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), but support for a link between mate choice, MHC variation, and increased parasite resistance is circumstantial. We compared MHC diversity and Anisakis...
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Natural (parasite-driven) and sexual selection are thought to maintain high polymorphism in the genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), but support for a link between mate choice, MHC variation, and increased parasite resistance is circumstantial. We compared MHC diversity and Anisakis loads amongst anadromous Atlantic salmon returning to four rivers to spawn which had originated from natural spawning (parents allowed to mate freely) or from artificial crosses (parents deprived from the potential benefits of mate choice). We found that the offspring of artificially-bred salmon had higher parasite loads and were almost 4 times more likely to be infected than free-mating salmon, despite having similar levels of MHC diversity. Moreover, the offspring of wild salmon were more MHC-dissimilar than the offspring of artificially-crossed salmon, and uninfected fish were more dissimilar for MHC than infected fish. Thus, our results suggest a link between disassortative mating and offspring benefits, and indicate that MHC-mediated mate choice and natural (parasite-driven) selection act in combination to maintain MHC diversity, and hence fitness. Therefore, artificial breeding programmes that negate the potential genetic benefits of mate choice may result in inherently inferior offspring, regardless of population size, rearing conditions, or genetic diversity.
The author made a substantial contribution to: (a) 1. the conception and design of the study;2. the organisation of the conduct of the study3. carrying out the study (including acquisition of study data) and also to 4. to analysis andinterpretation of study data.as well as (b) 2. The author helped draft the output;
MHC, mate choice, good genes, compatible genes, parasite resistance, salmon
Faculty of Science and Engineering