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Mate Selection and the Evolution of Highly Polymorphic Self/Nonself Recognition Genes

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Science  22 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5487, pp. 2111-2114
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5487.2111

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Abstract

Multicellular organisms use the products of highly polymorphic genes to distinguish self from conspecific nonself cells or tissues. These allorecognition polymorphisms may regulate somatic interactions between hosts and pathogens or between competitors (to avoid various forms of parasitism), as well as reproductive interactions between mates or between gametes (to avoid inbreeding). In both cases, rare alleles may be advantageous, but it remains unclear which mechanism maintains the genetic polymorphism for specificity in self/nonself recognition. Contrary to earlier reports, we show that mate selection cannot be a strong force maintaining allorecognition polymorphism in two colonial marine invertebrates. Instead, the regulation of intraspecific competitive interactions appears to promote the evolution of polymorphisms in these species.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rkgrosberg{at}ucdavis.edu

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