Relationship between genome-wide and MHC class I and II genetic diversity and complementarity in a nonhuman primate

Rachel M. Petersen, Christina M. Bergey, Christian Roos, James P. Higham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Although mate choice is expected to favor partners with advantageous genetic properties, the relative importance of genome-wide characteristics, such as overall heterozygosity or kinship, versus specific loci, is unknown. To disentangle genome-wide and locus-specific targets of mate choice, we must first understand congruence in global and local variation within the same individual. This study compares genetic diversity, both absolute and relative to other individuals (i.e., complementarity), assessed across the genome to that found at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a hyper-variable gene family integral to immune system function and implicated in mate choice across species. Using DNA from 22 captive olive baboons (Papio anubis), we conducted double digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing to estimate genome-wide heterozygosity and kinship, and sequenced two class I and two class II MHC loci. We found that genome-wide diversity was not associated with MHC diversity, and that diversity at class I MHC loci was not correlated with diversity at class II loci. Additionally, kinship was a significant predictor of the number of MHC alleles shared between dyads at class II loci. Our results provide further evidence of the strong selective pressures maintaining genetic diversity at the MHC in comparison to other randomly selected sites throughout the genome. Furthermore, our results indicate that class II MHC disassortative mate choice may mediate inbreeding avoidance in this population. Our study suggests that mate choice favoring genome-wide genetic diversity is not always synonymous with mate choice favoring MHC diversity, and highlights the importance of controlling for kinship when investigating MHC-associated mate choice.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numbere9346
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Oct 2022


    • MHC
    • complementarity
    • ddRAD sequencing
    • heterozygosity
    • mate choice

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Ecology
    • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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