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Data from: MHC, parasites and antler development in red deer: no support for the Hamilton & Zuk hypothesis

Citation

Buczek, Mateusz; Okarma, Henryk; Demiaszkiewicz, Aleksander W.; Radwan, Jacek (2016), Data from: MHC, parasites and antler development in red deer: no support for the Hamilton & Zuk hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nk25m

Abstract

The Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis proposes that the genetic benefits of preferences for elaborated secondary sexual traits have their origins in the arms race between hosts and parasites, which maintains genetic variance in parasite resistance. Infection, in turn, can be reflected in the expression of costly sexual ornaments. However, the link between immune genes, infection, and the expression of secondary sexual traits has rarely been investigated. Here, we explored whether the presence and identity of functional variants (supertypes) of the highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which is responsible for the recognition of parasites, predict the load of lung and gut parasites and antler development in the red deer (Cervus elaphus). While we found MHC supertypes to be associated with infection by a number of parasite species, including debilitating lung nematodes, we did not find support for the Hamilton-Zuk hypothesis. On the contrary, we found that lung nematode load was positively associated with antler development. We also found that the supertypes that were associated with resistance to certain parasites at the same time cause susceptibility to others. Such tradeoffs may undermine the potential genetic benefits of mate choice for resistant partners.

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