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Major histocompatibility complex variation and mate choice in a lekking bird, the great snipe (Gallinago media)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Population Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Population Biology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology.
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2004 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 13, no 12, 3821-3828 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a major part in the activation of the vertebrate immune system. In addition, they also appear to function as cues for mate choice. In mammals especially, several kinds of MHC-dependent mate choice have been hypothesized and observed. These include choice of mates that share no or few alleles with the choosing individual, choice of mates with alleles that differ as much as possible from the choosing individual, choice of heterozygous mates, choice of certain genotypes and choice of rare alleles. We investigated these different aspects of mate choice in relation to MHC in a lekking bird species, the great snipe (Gallinago media). We found no evidence for MHC disassortative mating, no preference for males with many MHC alleles and no preference for rare alleles. However, we did find that some allelic lineages were more often found in males with mating success than in males without mating success. Females do not seem to use themselves as references for the MHC-dependent mate choice, rather they seem to prefer males with certain allele types. We speculate that these alleles may be linked to resistance to common parasites.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 13, no 12, 3821-3828 p.
National Category
Genetics Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92221DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2004.02361.xPubMedID: 15548294OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-92221DiVA: diva2:165215
Available from: 2004-10-22 Created: 2004-10-22 Last updated: 2013-09-05
In thesis
1. Immunoecology of the Great Snipe (Gallinago media): Mate Choice, MHC Variation, and Humoral Immunocompetence in a Lekking Bird
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Immunoecology of the Great Snipe (Gallinago media): Mate Choice, MHC Variation, and Humoral Immunocompetence in a Lekking Bird
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

At the centre of the vertebrate immune system is a group of proteins called MHC (major histocompatibility complex) molecules. These function in self – non self recognition and activation of the immune defence against intruding parasites and pathogens. In this thesis I have investigated individual variation in MHC class II genes and antibody producing ability in relation to ecology and behaviour in the great snipe (Gallinago media), a lekking bird, breeding in northern Europe.

There was much variation in the MHC genes of the great snipe and the sequence data show that balancing selection has been acting on these genes. I found genetic differentiation in the MHC between two separate geographic regions of the great snipe distribution. Furthermore, this structure was more pronounced than that previously found in neutral genetic markers, suggesting that different selection pressures (possibly resulting from variation in parasitic fauna) are acting in these different regions.

The birds produced specific antibodies following injection with two novel antigens. Males that were chosen as mates, had higher antibody titers than their neighbouring males, suggesting that this ability may be important in female mate choice. Such choice could give the offspring an enhanced immune system or could favour females directly by avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases.

Females choosing to mate with a male having a different set of MHC genes than their own could give the offspring immune system the ability to react to a wide range of parasites. No such mate choice could, however, be found in the great snipe. Instead, females preferred males with certain MHC alleles, irrespective of their own MHC type. If those alleles confer resistance to parasites currently prevailing in the population, such resistance would be inherited by the offspring, thereby enhancing their fitness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2004. 55 p.
Series
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 1022
Keyword
Biology, Behaviour, Major histocompatibility complex class II B, Sexual selection, Evolution, Leks, Biologi
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4585 (URN)91-554-6057-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-11-12, Zootissalen, EBC, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
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Available from: 2004-10-22 Created: 2004-10-22 Last updated: 2009-03-31Bibliographically approved

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Ekblom, RobertHöglund, Jacob

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