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MHC genotype and male ornamentation: Genetic evidence for the Hamilton-Zuk model

Publiceringsår: 1996
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 265-271
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 263
Nummer: 1368
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is an immunologically important cluster of highly variable genes that is known to affect fitness in domesticated mammals and birds. Spur length of male pheasants in southern Sweden correlates with male viability, female mate choice, and offspring survival rate. Here we show by genetic analyses that the MHC genotype is associated with variation in both male spur length and male viability. These are the first data that directly support a 'good genes' hypothesis by Hamilton and Zuk predicting that females discriminate among males on the basis of secondary sexual characters in order to pass on genes for disease resistance that improve fitness in their offspring.


  • Biological Sciences
  • branta-leucopsis
  • barnacle goose
  • sexual selection
  • preferences
  • mating
  • phasianus-colchicus
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • evolution
  • viability
  • pheasant
  • haplotypes


  • Avian MHC genes
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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