Direct fitness benefits explain mate preference, but not choice, for similarity in heterozygosity levels

Zandberg, Lies and Gort, Gerrit and van Oers, Kees and Hinde, Camilla A. and Aubry, Lise (2017) Direct fitness benefits explain mate preference, but not choice, for similarity in heterozygosity levels. Ecology Letters, 20 (10). pp. 1306-1314. ISSN 1461-0248

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12827

Abstract

Under sexual selection, mate preferences can evolve for traits advertising fitness benefits. Observed mating patterns (mate choice) are often assumed to represent preference, even though they result from the interaction between preference, sampling strategy and environmental factors. Correlating fitness with mate choice instead of preference will therefore lead to confounded conclusions about the role of preference in sexual selection. Here we show that direct fitness benefits underlie mate preferences for genetic characteristics in a unique experiment on wild great tits. In repeated mate preference tests, both sexes preferred mates that had similar heterozygosity levels to themselves, and not those with which they would optimise offspring heterozygosity. In a subsequent field experiment where we cross fostered offspring, foster parents with more similar heterozygosity levels had higher reproductive success, despite the absence of assortative mating patterns. These results support the idea that selection for preference persists despite constraints on mate choice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Great tit, heterozygosity, mate choice, mate preferences, relatedness, reproductive success, sexual selection
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2020 16:09
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/705342

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