Logo of procbhomepageaboutsubmitalertseditorial board
Proc Biol Sci. Nov 7, 2003; 270(Suppl 2): S254–S256.
PMCID: PMC1809963

Major histocompatibility complex and mate choice in sand lizards.


In mice and man, females prefer males with a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genotype different to their own. We tested whether this phenomenon also occurs in the Swedish sand lizard (Lacerta agilis). Females in a laboratory experiment preferred to associate with odour samples obtained from more distantly related males at the MHC class 1 loci. Data on free-ranging lizards suggest that associations between males and females are nonrandom with respect to MHC genotype. However, male spatial distribution and mobility during the mating season suggest that the non-random pairing process in the wild may also be driven by corresponding genetic benefits to males pairing with less related females.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (82K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Olsson M, Madsen T. Promiscuity in sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) and adder snakes (Vipera berus): causes and consequences. J Hered. 2001 Mar-Apr;92(2):190–197. [PubMed]
  • Reusch TB, Häberli MA, Aeschlimann PB, Milinski M. Female sticklebacks count alleles in a strategy of sexual selection explaining MHC polymorphism. Nature. 2001 Nov 15;414(6861):300–302. [PubMed]
  • Wetton JH, Carter RE, Parkin DT, Walters D. Demographic study of a wild house sparrow population by DNA fingerprinting. Nature. 1987 May 14;327(6118):147–149. [PubMed]
  • Zeh JA, Zeh DW. The evolution of polyandry II: post-copulatory defenses against genetic incompatibility. Proc Biol Sci. 1997 Jan 22;264(1378):69–75. [PMC free article]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...