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Am J Hum Genet. 1997 Sep; 61(3): 497–504.
PMCID: PMC1715964

HLA and mate choice in humans.


Evidence from studies in rodents suggests that mate selection is influenced by major-histocompatibility-complex haplotypes, with preferences for dissimilar partners. This study was initiated to determine whether avoidance of a mate with the same HLA haplotype as one's own might be occurring in the Hutterites, a North American reproductive isolate of European ancestry, notable for their large sibships, communal lifestyle, and limited number of five-locus HLA haplotypes (HLA-A, -B, -C, -DR, and -DQ). HLA haplotypes were known for 411 Hutterite couples. The number of couples expected to match for a haplotype was calculated in two ways: first, from population genotype frequencies, with account being taken of the nonrandom mating pattern with respect to colony lineages, and, second, from computer simulations using conservative founder assumptions and the exact genealogy of the 411 couples. We observed fewer matches for HLA haplotypes between spouses than expected (first method, P = .005; second method, P = .020-.067). Among couples who did match for a haplotype, the matched haplotype was inherited from the mother in 29 cases and from the father in 50 cases (P = .018). These results are consistent with the conclusion that Hutterite mate choice is influenced by HLA haplotypes, with an avoidance of spouses with haplotypes that are the same as one's own.

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Selected References

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