Dustin J. Penn

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Only natural selection can account for the extreme genetic diversity of genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Although the structure and function of classic MHC genes is well understood at the molecular and cellular levels, there is controversy about how MHC diversity is selectively maintained. The diversifying selection can be driven by(More)
House mice prefer mates genetically dissimilar at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The highly polymorphic MHC genes control immunological self/nonself recognition; therefore, this mating preference may function to provide “good genes” for an individual’s offspring. However, the evidence for MHC-dependent mating preferences is controversial, and(More)
Individuals in some species prefer mates carrying dissimilar genes at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), which may function to increase the MHC or overall heterozygosity of progeny. Here I review the evidence for MHC-dependent mating preferences from recent studies, including studies on the underlying olfactory mechanisms and evolutionary(More)
The detrimental effects of inbreeding on vertebrates are well documented for early stages of the life cycle in the laboratory. However, the consequences of inbreeding on long-term survival and reproductive success (Darwinian fitness) are uncertain for vertebrates in the wild. Here, we report direct experimental evidence for vertebrates that competition(More)
Research into visual and acoustic signals has demonstrated that exaggerated sexual displays often provide an honest indicator of a male's resistance to parasites. Recent studies with rodents and humans now suggest that chemosensory signals also reveal a male's disease resistance and his genetic compatibility. Our understanding of sexual selection has been(More)
House mice (Mus musculus domesticus) avoid mating with individuals that are genetically similar at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Mice are able recognize MHC-similar individuals through specific odour cues. However, to mate disassortatively for MHC genes, individuals must have a referent, either themselves (self-inspection) or close kin(More)
Genetic heterozygosity is thought to enhance resistance of hosts to infectious diseases, but few tests of this idea exist. In particular, heterozygosity at the MHC, the highly polymorphic loci that control immunological recognition of pathogens, is suspected to confer a selective advantage by enhancing resistance to infectious diseases (the "heterozygote(More)
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a critical role in immune recognition, and many alleles confer susceptibility to infectious and autoimmune diseases. How these deleterious alleles persist in populations is controversial. One hypothesis postulates that MHC heterozygote superiority emerges over multiple infections because MHC-mediated(More)
Males of many species produce scent marks and other olfactory signals that function to intimidate rivals and attract females. It has been suggested that scent marks provide an honest, cheat-proof display of an individual’s health and condition. Here we report several findings that address this hypothesis in wild-derived house mice (Mus musculus domesticus).(More)