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The hidden benefits of sex : evidence for MHC-associated mate choice in primate societies.

Setchell, J.M. and Huchard, E. (2010) 'The hidden benefits of sex : evidence for MHC-associated mate choice in primate societies.', Bioessays., 32 (11). pp. 940-948.


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-associated mate choice is thought to give offspring a fitness advantage through disease resistance. Primates offer a unique opportunity to understand MHC-associated mate choice within our own zoological order, while their social diversity provides an exceptional setting to examine the genetic determinants and consequences of mate choice in animal societies. Although mate choice is constrained by social context, increasing evidence shows that MHC-dependent mate choice occurs across the order in a variety of socio-sexual systems and favours mates with dissimilar, diverse or specific genotypes non-exclusively. Recent research has also identified phenotypic indicators of MHC quality. Moreover, novel findings rehabilitate the importance of olfactory cues in signalling MHC genes and influencing primate mating decisions. These findings underline the importance to females of selecting a sexual partner of high genetic quality, as well as the generality of the role of MHC genes in sexual selection.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Compatibility, Immunity, Major histocompatibility complex, Sexual selection, Signalling.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Setchell, J. M. and Huchard, E. (2010), The hidden benefits of sex: Evidence for MHC-associated mate choice in primate societies. Bioessays, 32 (11), 940–948, which has been published in final form at
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:17 April 2014
Date of first online publication:November 2010
Date first made open access:No date available

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