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Data from: MHC class I diversity predicts non-random mating in Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis)


Han, Qun-Hua et al. (2018), Data from: MHC class I diversity predicts non-random mating in Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis), Dryad, Dataset,


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) plays numerous important roles in kin recognition, pathogen resistance, and mate selection. Research in fish, birds, and mammals have suggested that individuals optimize MHC diversity, and therefore offspring fitness, when choosing mates. In reptiles, however, it is unclear whether female mate choice is based on genome-wide genetic characteristics such as microsatellites DNA loci, on particular functional trait loci (e.g., MHC) or on both, and MHC effects on mate choice remain relatively under-studied. Herein, we used 13 microsatellite loci and two MHC class I loci to investigate female mate choice of Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) in the semi-natural condition. We also determined correlations between the MHC genotype of breeding males and male reproductive success. We found that MHC-heterozygous males harbour a greater reproductive success, which possibly is the reason that those males were more preferred by the females than MHC-homozygous males. Furthermore, MHC class I amino-acid distance and functional distance of true mating pairs were higher compared with that of randomly sampled pairs. Analysis of microsatellites revealed that despite mate choice, individuals did not completely avoid inbreeding. These findings are the first evidence of MHC-associated mate choice in Chinese alligators, and they suggest that females may adopt different mating strategies after assessing MHC characteristics of potential mates.

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