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Guppy MHC and microsatellite genotypes, gyrodactylid infection trials, and analysis code


Phillips, Karl (2021), Guppy MHC and microsatellite genotypes, gyrodactylid infection trials, and analysis code, Dryad, Dataset,


Natural host populations differ in their susceptibility to infection by parasites, and these intra-population differences are still an incompletely understood component of host-parasite dynamics. In this study, we used controlled infection experiments with wild-caught guppies (Poecilia reticulata) and their ectoparasite Gyrodactylus turnbulli to investigate the roles of local adaptation and host genetic composition (immunogenetic and neutral) in explaining differences in susceptibility to infection. We found differences between our four study host populations that were consistent between two parasite source populations, with no indication of local adaptation by either host or parasite at two tested spatial scales. Greater host population genetic variability metrics broadly aligned with lower population mean infection intensity, with the best alignments associated with Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) ‘supertypes’. Controlling for intra-population differences and potential inbreeding variance, we found a significant negative relationship between individual-level functional MHC variability and infection: fish carrying more MHC supertypes experienced infections of lower severity, with limited evidence for supertype-specific effects. We conclude that population-level differences in host infection susceptibility likely reflect variation in parasite selective pressure and/or host evolutionary potential, underpinned by functional immunogenetic variation.


Data collection is described in the associated manuscript, accepted for publication 11/08/2021, which we intend to make Open Access. All processing is described in the dataset's readMe and in the extensive annotations to the uploaded R scripts.

Usage notes

The upload's readMe lists the R packages used in the work. Somebody working through the full pipeline as is will need the software CERVUS (details and citation in the readMe), though this is for a tool also available elsewhere.