Lack of statistical power as a major limitation in understanding MHC-mediated immunocompetence in wild vertebrate populations.

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_B3665E7F5E33
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Lack of statistical power as a major limitation in understanding MHC-mediated immunocompetence in wild vertebrate populations.
Journal
Molecular Ecology
Author(s)
Gaigher A., Burri R., San-Jose L.M., Roulin A., Fumagalli L.
ISSN
1365-294X (Electronic)
ISSN-L
0962-1083
Publication state
Published
Issued date
12/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
28
Number
23
Pages
5115-5132
Language
english
Notes
Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: ppublish
Abstract
Disentangling the sources of variation in developing an effective immune response against pathogens is of major interest to immunoecology and evolutionary biology. To date, the link between immunocompetence and genetic variation at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has received little attention in wild animals, despite the key role of MHC genes in activating the adaptive immune system. Although several studies point to a link between MHC and immunocompetence, negative findings have also been reported. Such disparate findings suggest that limited statistical power might be affecting studies on this topic, owing to insufficient sample sizes and/or a generally small effect of MHC on the immunocompetence of wild vertebrates. To clarify this issue, we investigated the link between MHC variation and seven immunocompetence proxies in a large sample of barn owls and estimated the effect sizes and statistical power of this and published studies on this topic. We found that MHC poorly explained variation in immunocompetence of barn owls, with small-to-moderate associations between MHC and immunocompetence in owls (effect size: .1 ≥ r ≤ .3) similar to other vertebrates studied to date. Such small-to-moderate effects were largely associated with insufficient power, which was only sufficient (>0.8) to detect moderate-to-large effect sizes (r ≥ .3). Thus, studies linking MHC variation with immunocompetence in wild populations are underpowered to detect MHC effects, which are likely to be of generally small magnitude. Larger sample sizes (>200) will be required to achieve sufficient power in future studies aiming to robustly test for a link between MHC variation and immunocompetence.
Keywords
birds, immunoecology, major histocompatibility complex, power analysis
Pubmed
Web of science
Create date
11/10/2019 13:58
Last modification date
29/01/2020 7:19
Usage data