My Dissertation research included:
- The development of a quantitative measure of mating systems
- This component of my dissertation aimed to fundamentally change the way in which we study mating systems. Specifically, secondary to the widespread use of molecular parentage analysis, we now understand that mating systems are better treated as continuous variables, rather than as discrete entities (i.e. monogamy, polygyny, etc.). This chapter outlines the approach, illustrating how its adoption may lead to novel insight.
- Analysis of the effects of mating system on selection on MHC genes
- Using population level data collected from a single locality, this chapter shows that natural selection on MHC genes is not enhanced in a promiscuous mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) relative to its monogamous congener, P. californicus. This result supports the MHC-disassortative mate choice hypothesis.
- Patterns of selection on MHC genes in the genus Peromyscus
- This component of my dissertation hoped to test the generality of the finding in chapter 2 using genus-level consisting of MHC sequences from 22 Peromyscus species, including another, independent, origin of monogamy. Here, using lineage-specific tests of positive selection, I showed that selection on MHC genes was enhanced in both monogamous species. This was taken for strong evidence for the MHC-disassortative mate choice hypothesis.