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MHC-II distance between parents predicts sex allocation decisions in a genetically monogamous bird

Abstract : Theory predicts that parental heritable characteristics should shape sex allocation decisions when their effects on reproduction or survival are offspring sex-dependent. Numerous studies have questioned to what extent characteristics displayed by one of the parents matched theoretical expectations. This contrasts with the handful of studies that investigated whether compatibility between parents could also trigger selective pressures for sex allocation adjustments. We studied the genetically monogamous black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), where previous data revealed that female chicks suffered higher fitness costs from low diversity at genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) than male chicks. We predicted, and found in our dataset, that MHC-similar parents, producing low MHC-diverse offspring, should avoid the production of females. The relation between MHC-distance between parents (i.e. the functional distinctness of their MHC alleles) and offspring sex was not linear, such that MHC-dissimilar parents also overproduced sons. Overall, our results suggest that the genetically monogamous black-legged kittiwake parents flexibly adapt their reproduction and circumvent the costs of suboptimal pairing by manipulating offspring sex.
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03770671
Contributor : Sarah Leclaire Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 5:33:13 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 9, 2022 - 3:03:41 AM

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Maxime Pineaux, Thomas Merkling, Etienne Danchin, Scott Hatch, Sarah Leclaire, et al.. MHC-II distance between parents predicts sex allocation decisions in a genetically monogamous bird. Behavioral Ecology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2022, 33 (1), pp.245-251. ⟨10.1093/beheco/arab130⟩. ⟨hal-03770671⟩

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