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Mate choice for genetic compatibility in the house mouse


Lindholm, Anna K; Musolf, Kerstin; Weidt, Andrea; König, Barbara (2013). Mate choice for genetic compatibility in the house mouse. Ecology and Evolution, 3(5):1231-1247.

Abstract

In house mice, genetic compatibility is influenced by the t haplotype, a driving selfish genetic element with a recessive lethal allele, imposing fundamental costs on mate choice decisions. Here, we evaluate the cost of genetic incompatibility and its implication for mate choice in a wild house mice population. In laboratory reared mice, we detected no fertility (number of embryos) or fecundity (ability to conceive) costs of the t, and yet we found a high cost of genetic incompatibility: heterozygote crosses produced 40% smaller birth litter sizes because of prenatal mortality. Surprisingly, transmission of t in crosses using +/t males was influenced by female genotype, consistent with postcopulatory female choice for + sperm in +/t females. Analysis of paternity patterns in a wild population of house mice showed that +/t females were more likely than +/+ females to have offspring sired by +/+ males, and unlike +/+ females, paternity of their offspring was not influenced by +/t male frequency, further supporting mate choice for genetic compatibility. As the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is physically linked to the t, we investigated whether females could potentially use variation at the MHC to identify male genotype at the sperm or individual level. A unique MHC haplotype is linked to the t haplotype. This MHC haplotype could allow the recognition of t and enable pre- and postcopulatory mate choice for genetic compatibility. Alternatively, the MHC itself could be the target of mate choice for genetic compatibility. We predict that mate choice for genetic compatibility will be difficult to find in many systems, as only weak fertilization biases were found despite an exceptionally high cost of genetic incompatibility.

Abstract

In house mice, genetic compatibility is influenced by the t haplotype, a driving selfish genetic element with a recessive lethal allele, imposing fundamental costs on mate choice decisions. Here, we evaluate the cost of genetic incompatibility and its implication for mate choice in a wild house mice population. In laboratory reared mice, we detected no fertility (number of embryos) or fecundity (ability to conceive) costs of the t, and yet we found a high cost of genetic incompatibility: heterozygote crosses produced 40% smaller birth litter sizes because of prenatal mortality. Surprisingly, transmission of t in crosses using +/t males was influenced by female genotype, consistent with postcopulatory female choice for + sperm in +/t females. Analysis of paternity patterns in a wild population of house mice showed that +/t females were more likely than +/+ females to have offspring sired by +/+ males, and unlike +/+ females, paternity of their offspring was not influenced by +/t male frequency, further supporting mate choice for genetic compatibility. As the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is physically linked to the t, we investigated whether females could potentially use variation at the MHC to identify male genotype at the sperm or individual level. A unique MHC haplotype is linked to the t haplotype. This MHC haplotype could allow the recognition of t and enable pre- and postcopulatory mate choice for genetic compatibility. Alternatively, the MHC itself could be the target of mate choice for genetic compatibility. We predict that mate choice for genetic compatibility will be difficult to find in many systems, as only weak fertilization biases were found despite an exceptionally high cost of genetic incompatibility.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:20 March 2013
Deposited On:22 Mar 2013 13:45
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 20:27
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2045-7758
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Zurich
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.534
PubMed ID:23762510

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