Sex Differences in the Use of the Major Histocompatibility Complex for Mate Selection in Congenic Strains of Mice
Since the discoveries that mice can detect odors associated with genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and that these odors affect mate choice (Yamazaki et al., 1976, 1979), there has been speculation about the generality of these effects in other inbred strains of mice and in populations of wild mice. This interest in the effects of the MHC on behavior has arisen because it is possible that the observed disassortative mating could be maintaining, in part, the extensive genetic polymorphism found within this complex in natural populations (see Potts and Wakeland, 1990, for a more detailed discussion of hypotheses for MHC-disassortative mating). This polymorphism might also make the MHC an important tool in social contexts by providing unique labels for kin recognition and discrimination (Brown, 1983). It follows, then, that the significance of the MHC, particularly during mate selection, needs to be further investigated in diverse strains of mice, considering both intersexual and interstrain variation in strength and direction of preferences.
KeywordsMajor Histocompatibility Complex Inbred Strain Mate Preference Congenic Strain Inbred Mouse Strain
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