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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, vol. 8, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20934-9.

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Title MHC diversity and female age underpin reproductive success in an Australian icon; the Tasmanian Devil
Author(s) Russell, Tracey
Lisovski, Simeon
Olsson, Mats
Brown, Gregory
Spindler, Rebecca
Lane, Amanda
Keeley, Tamara
Hibbard, Chris
Hogg, Carolyn J
Thomas, Frédéric
Belov, Katherine
Ujvari, BeataORCID iD for Ujvari, Beata orcid.org/0000-0003-2391-2988
Madsen, Thomas
Journal name Scientific reports
Volume number 8
Article ID 4175
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2018-03-08
ISSN 2045-2322
2045-2322
Keyword(s) Tasmanian Devil
evolution
sexual selection
Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD)
Sarcophilus harrisii
cancer
captive breeding program
survival
science & technology
Summary 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.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-20934-9
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30107980

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.