Female partner preferences enhance offspring ability to survive an infection

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Abstract

Background: It is often suggested that mate choice enhances offspring immune resistance to infectious diseases. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a study with wild-derived house mice (Mus musculus musculus) in which females were experimentally mated either with their preferred or non-preferred male, and their offspring were infected with a mouse pathogen, Salmonella enterica (serovar Typhimurium). Results: We found that offspring sired by preferred males were significantly more likely to survive the experimental infection compared to those sired by non-preferred males. We found no significant differences in the pathogen clearance or infection dynamics between the infected mice, suggesting that offspring from preferred males were better able to cope with infection and had improved tolerance rather than immune resistance. Conclusion: Our results provide the first direct experimental evidence within a single study that partner preferences enhance offspring resistance to infectious diseases. © 2014 Raveh et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Raveh, S., Sutalo, S., Thonhauser, K. E., Thoß, M., Hettyey, A., Winkelser, F., & Penn, D. J. (2014). Female partner preferences enhance offspring ability to survive an infection. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-14-14

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