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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2008

Genetic dissimilarity between mates, but not male heterozygosity, influences divorce in schistosomes

Abstract

Background Correlational studies strongly suggest that both genetic similarity and heterozygosity can influence female mate choice. However, the influence of each variable has usually been tested independently, although similarity and heterozygosity might be correlated. We experimentally determined the relative influence of genetic similarity and heterozygosity in divorce and re-mating in the monogamous endoparasite Schistosoma mansoni. Methodology/Principal Findings We performed sequential infections of vertebrate hosts with controlled larval populations of parasites, where sex and individual genetic diversity and similarity were predetermined before infection. Divorce rate increased significantly when females were given the opportunity to increase genetic dissimilarity through re-mating with a new partner, independently of the intensity of male-male competition. We found however no evidence for females attempting to maximize the level of heterozygosity of their reproductive partner through divorce. Conclusions/Significance Female preference for genetically dissimilar males should result in more heterozygous offspring. Because genetic heterozygosity might partly determine the ability of parasites to counter host resistance, adaptive divorce could be an important factor in the evolutionary arms race between schistosomes and their hosts.
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halsde-00344398 , version 1 (04-12-2008)

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S. Beltran, Frank Cézilly, Jérôme Boissier. Genetic dissimilarity between mates, but not male heterozygosity, influences divorce in schistosomes. PLoS ONE, 2008, 3 (10), pp.e3328. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0003328⟩. ⟨halsde-00344398⟩
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