MHC diversity and female age underpin reproductive success in an Australian icon; the Tasmanian devil

Russell, Tracey, Lisovski, Simeon, Olsson, Mats, Brown, Gregory, Spindler, Rebecca, Lane, Amanda, Keeley, Tamara, Hibbard, Chris, Hogg, Carolyn J, Thomas, Frédéric, Belov, Katherine, Ujvari, Beata and Madsen, Thomas (2018) MHC diversity and female age underpin reproductive success in an Australian icon; the Tasmanian devil. Scientific Reports, 8 1: 4175. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-20934-9


Author Russell, Tracey
Lisovski, Simeon
Olsson, Mats
Brown, Gregory
Spindler, Rebecca
Lane, Amanda
Keeley, Tamara
Hibbard, Chris
Hogg, Carolyn J
Thomas, Frédéric
Belov, Katherine
Ujvari, Beata
Madsen, Thomas
Title MHC diversity and female age underpin reproductive success in an Australian icon; the Tasmanian devil
Journal name Scientific Reports   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication date 2018-03-08
Year available 2018
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-20934-9
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 1
Start page 4175
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Abstract Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a highly contagious cancer, has decimated Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) numbers in the wild. To ensure its long-term survival, a captive breeding program was implemented but has not been as successful as envisaged at its launch in 2005. We therefore investigated the reproductive success of 65 captive devil pair combinations, of which 35 produced offspring (successful pairs) whereas the remaining 30 pairs, despite being observed mating, produced no offspring (unsuccessful pairs). The devils were screened at six MHC Class I-linked microsatellite loci. Our analyses revealed that younger females had a higher probability of being successful than older females. In the successful pairs we also observed a higher difference in total number of heterozygous loci, i.e. when one devil had a high total number of heterozygous loci, its partner had low numbers. Our results therefore suggest that devil reproductive success is subject to disruptive MHC selection, which to our knowledge has never been recorded in any vertebrate. In order to enhance the success of the captive breeding program the results from the present study show the importance of using young (2-year old) females as well as subjecting the devils to MHC genotyping.
Keyword Major Histocompatibility Complex
Facial-Tumor Disease
Mate Choice
Sexual Selection
Sarcophilus-Harrisii
Population Decline
Genetic Diversity
Sand Lizards
Heterozygosity
Molecules
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DP140103260
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
 
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Created: Wed, 14 Mar 2018, 10:03:54 EST