Within-trio tests provide little support for post-copulatory selection on MHC haplotypes in a free-living population

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Abstract

Sexual selection has been proposed as a force that could help maintain the diversity of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in vertebrates. Potential selective mechanisms can be divided into pre-copulatory and post-copulatory, and in both cases the evidence for occurrence is mixed, especially in natural populations. In this study, we used a large number of parent-offspring trios that were diplotyped for MHC class II genes in a wild population of Soay sheep (Ovis aries) to examine whether there was within-trio post-copulatory selection on MHC class II genes at both the haplotype and diplotype levels. We found there was transmission ratio distortion of one of the eight MHC class II haplotype (E) which was transmitted less than expected by fathers, and transmission ratio distortion of another haplotype (A) which was transmitted more than expected by chance to male offspring. However, in both cases these deviations were not significant after correction for multiple tests. In addition, we did not find any evidence of post-copulatory selection at the diplotype level. These results imply that, given known parents, there is no strong post-copulatory selection on MHC class II genes in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume288
Issue number1945
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
  • post-copulatory sexual selection
  • soay sheep

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