Major histocompatibility complex-linked social signalling affects female fertility

D. Burger, S. Thomas, H. Aepli, M. Dreyer, G. Fabre, E. Marti, H. Sieme, M.R. Robinson, C. Wedekind, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284 (2017) 20171824.

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Journal Article | Published | English
Author
Burger, D.; Thomas, S.; Aepli, H.; Dreyer, M.; Fabre, G.; Marti, E.; Sieme, H.; Robinson, Matthew RichardIST Austria ; Wedekind, C.
Abstract
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have been shown to influence social signalling and mate preferences in many species, including humans. First observations suggest that MHC signalling may also affect female fertility. To test this hypothesis, we exposed 191 female horses (Equus caballus) to either an MHC-similar or an MHC-dissimilar stimulus male around the time of ovulation and conception. A within-subject experimental design controlled for non-MHC-linked male characteristics, and instrumental insemination with semen of other males (n = 106) controlled for potential confounding effects of semen or embryo characteristics. We found that females were more likely to become pregnant if exposed to an MHC-dissimilar than to an MHC-similar male, while overall genetic distance to the stimulus males (based on microsatellite markers on 20 chromosomes) had no effect. Our results demonstrate that early pregnancy failures can be due to maternal life-history decisions (cryptic female choice) influenced by MHC-linked social signalling.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2017-12-06
Journal Title
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume
284
Issue
1868
Article Number
20171824
IST-REx-ID

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Burger D, Thomas S, Aepli H, et al. Major histocompatibility complex-linked social signalling affects female fertility. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2017;284(1868):20171824. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1824
Burger, D., Thomas, S., Aepli, H., Dreyer, M., Fabre, G., Marti, E., … Wedekind, C. (2017). Major histocompatibility complex-linked social signalling affects female fertility. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1868), 20171824. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1824
Burger, D., S. Thomas, H. Aepli, M. Dreyer, G. Fabre, E. Marti, H. Sieme, Matthew Richard Robinson, and C. Wedekind. “Major Histocompatibility Complex-Linked Social Signalling Affects Female Fertility.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284, no. 1868 (2017): 20171824. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1824.
D. Burger et al., “Major histocompatibility complex-linked social signalling affects female fertility,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 284, no. 1868, p. 20171824, 2017.
Burger D, Thomas S, Aepli H, Dreyer M, Fabre G, Marti E, Sieme H, Robinson MR, Wedekind C. 2017. Major histocompatibility complex-linked social signalling affects female fertility. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284(1868), 20171824.
Burger, D., et al. “Major Histocompatibility Complex-Linked Social Signalling Affects Female Fertility.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 284, no. 1868, The Royal Society, 2017, p. 20171824, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1824.

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PMID: 29212724
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