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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2012

Authors: Schaschl, H; Suchentrunk, F; Morris, DL; Ben Slimen, H; Smith, S; Arnold, W

Title: Sex-specific selection for MHC variability in Alpine chamois.

Source: BMC Evol Biol. 2012; 12:20

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Arnold Walter
Smith Steven
Suchentrunk Franz

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

In mammals, males typically have shorter lives than females. This difference is thought to be due to behavioural traits which enhance competitive abilities, and hence male reproductive success, but impair survival. Furthermore, in many species males usually show higher parasite burden than females. Consequently, the intensity of selection for genetic factors which reduce susceptibility to pathogens may differ between sexes. High variability at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes is believed to be advantageous for detecting and combating the range of infectious agents present in the environment. Increased heterozygosity at these immune genes is expected to be important for individual longevity. However, whether males in natural populations benefit more from MHC heterozygosity than females has rarely been investigated. We investigated this question in a long-term study of free-living Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), a polygynous mountain ungulate.

Keywords Pubmed: Animals
Gene Frequency
Genes, MHC Class II*
Genetic Variation
Genetics, Population
Genotyping Techniques
HLA-DR beta-Chains/genetics*
Major Histocompatibility Complex/genetics*
Microsatellite Repeats
Selection, Genetic*
Sequence Analysis, DNA
Sex Factors

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