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Medicineworld.org: Mate selection more biologically determined

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Mate selection more biologically determined




Some human populations may rely on biological factors in addition to social factors when selecting a mate. In a recent study, published September 12 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, researchers in China, France, and the United Kingdom report genomic data showing that immunity traits may be involved in mate choice in some human populations.



Mate selection more biologically determined

In several species it has been shown that the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC), a large genomic region involved in immune response, influences mating selections and that this may be mediated by preferences based on body odor. Some prior studies have reported a tendency for humans to prefer MHC-dissimilar mates, encouraging heterozygosity at MHC loci in offspring and resulting in improved immune response. However, other studies, both directly in couples and also indirectly in "sweaty T-shirts" experiments, have reported conflicting results.

Adding to this debate is the recent study by Raphalle Chaix, Chen Cao and Peter Donnelly. The testing employed genome-wide genotype data and HLA types in a sample of African and a sample of European American couples, enabling the scientists to distinguish MHC-specific effects from genome-wide effects. The group examined whether husband-wife couples were more MHC-similar or MHC-dissimilar compared to random pairs of individuals.

African couples were not more MHC-similar or MHC-dissimilar, eventhough genome-wide they were more similar than random couples, probably as a consequence of social factors. Conversely, European American pairs were predominantly MHC-dissimilar, and drastically so compared to the genome, supporting the hypothesis that the MHC influences mate choice in this population. Future studies may add to this debate of whether biological traits play a significant role beside social traits in the process of mating.


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
Some human populations may rely on biological factors in addition to social factors when selecting a mate. In a recent study, published September 12 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, researchers in China, France, and the United Kingdom report genomic data showing that immunity traits may be involved in mate choice in some human populations.

Medicineworld.org: Mate selection more biologically determined

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