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Data from: Can MHC-assortative partner choice promote offspring diversity? A new combination of MHC-dependent behaviors among sexes in a highly successful invasive mammal

Citation

Santos, Pablo S. C.; Michler, Frank-Uwe; Sommer, Simone (2017), Data from: Can MHC-assortative partner choice promote offspring diversity? A new combination of MHC-dependent behaviors among sexes in a highly successful invasive mammal, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1vb0h

Abstract

Sexual selection involving genetically disassortative mate choice is one of several evolutionary processes that can maintain or enhance population genetic variability. Examples of reproductive systems in which choosers (generally females) select mates depending on their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes have been reported for several vertebrate species. Notably, the role of MHC-dependent choice in non-mating contexts, but in other kinds of social interactions such as in the establishment of complex social systems, has not yet drawn significant scientific interest and is virtually absent from the literature. We have investigated male and female MHC-dependent choice in an invasive population of North American raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Germany. Both male and female raccoons rely on olfaction for individual recognition. Males have an unusually complex social system in which older individuals choose unrelated younger ones to form stable male coalitions that defend territories and a monopoly over females. We have confirmed that females perform MHC-disassortative mate choice, and that this behavior fosters genetic diversity of offspring. We have also observed that males build coalitions by choosing male partners depending on their MHC, but in an assortative manner. This is the first observation of antagonistic MHC-dependent behaviors among sexes. We show that this is the only combination of MHC-dependent partner choice that leads to outbreeding. In the case of introduced raccoons, such behaviors can act together to promote the invasive potential of the species by increasing its adaptive genetic divergence.

Usage Notes

Location

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Germany
Müritz Nationalpark