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

Year: 2014

Authors: Leclaire, S; van Dongen, WF; Voccia, S; Merkling, T; Ducamp, C; Hatch, SA; Blanchard, P; Danchin, E; Wagner, RH

Title: Preen secretions encode information on MHC similarity in certain sex-dyads in a monogamous seabird.

Source: Sci Rep. 2014; 4:6920

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

van Dongen Wouter
Wagner Richard

Vetmed Research Units
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology

Project(s): Mechanisms of breeding aggregations in fishes

Animals are known to select mates to maximize the genetic diversity of their offspring in order to achieve immunity against a broader range of pathogens. Although several bird species preferentially mate with partners that are dissimilar at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), it remains unknown whether they can use olfactory cues to assess MHC similarity with potential partners. Here we combined gas chromatography data with genetic similarity indices based on MHC to test whether similarity in preen secretion chemicals correlated with MHC relatedness in the black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), a species that preferentially mates with genetically dissimilar partners. We found that similarity in preen secretion chemicals was positively correlated with MHC relatedness in male-male and male-female dyads. This study provides the first evidence that preen secretion chemicals can encode information on MHC relatedness and suggests that odor-based mechanisms of MHC-related mate choice may occur in birds.

Keywords Pubmed: Alleles
Amino Acid Sequence
Avian Proteins/chemistry
Avian Proteins/genetics*
Genetic Variation
Histocompatibility Antigens/chemistry
Histocompatibility Antigens/genetics*
Mating Preference, Animal
Molecular Sequence Data
Scent Glands/secretion*

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