MHC-correlated preferences in diestrous female horses (Equus caballus).

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Version: author
Serval ID
serval:BIB_16362E65A2B4
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
MHC-correlated preferences in diestrous female horses (Equus caballus).
Journal
Theriogenology
Author(s)
Burger D., Meuwly C., Marti E., Sieme H., Oberthür M., Janda J., Meinecke-Tillmann S., Wedekind C.
ISSN
1879-3231 (Electronic)
ISSN-L
0093-691X
Publication state
Published
Issued date
02/2017
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
89
Pages
318-323.e1
Language
english
Notes
Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: ppublish
Abstract
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have been shown to influence communication in many vertebrates, possibly with context-specific MHC-correlated reactions. Here we test for MHC-linked female preferences in the polygynous horse (Equus caballus) by repeatedly exposing 19 mares to a group of seven sexually experienced stallions. Each mare was tested four times during two consecutive reproductive cycles, twice during estrus and twice during diestrus. Male plasma testosterone concentrations were determined from weekly blood samples, and equine leukocyte antigen (ELA) class I and II alleles were determined serologically at the end of the experiments. Perception of male attractiveness was strongly dependent on estrous cycle: mean preference scores did not correlate for mares in diestrus and estrus and varied more during estrus than during diestrus. We found elevated female interests for MHC-dissimilar stallions, but only during diestrus, not during estrus. Female preferences were not significantly predicted by mean male testosterone plasma concentrations. However, testosterone concentrations changed during the 11 weeks of the experiment. By the end of the experiment, average testosterone concentration was significantly correlated to the average number of MHC alleles the stallions shared with the mares. We conclude that the MHC affects female preferences for stallions, but non-MHC linked male characteristics can overshadow effects of the MHC during estrus.

Keywords
Animals, Estrous Cycle, Female, Horses/genetics, Major Histocompatibility Complex/genetics, Male, Mating Preference, Animal, Testosterone/blood, Estrus cycle, Horse, MHC, Mate choice, Social communication, Testosterone
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
05/12/2016 19:17
Last modification date
20/08/2019 13:45
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