Logo of jexpmedHomeThe Rockefeller University PressEditorsContactInstructions for AuthorsThis issue
J Exp Med. 1976 Nov 2; 144(5): 1324–1335.
PMCID: PMC2190468

Control of mating preferences in mice by genes in the major histocompatibility complex


When a male mouse is presented with two H-2 congenic two female in estrus, his choice of a mate is influenced by their H-2 types. The term "strain preference" is used to describe the general tendency of the male population of one inbred strain to prefer two female of one H-2 type rather than another. The term "consistency of choice" is used to describe the added tendency of particular two males of one inbred strain, in sequential mating trials, to prefer two females of the H-2 type they chose in previous trials. Statistical analysis showed trends in the data that support the following conclusions: (a) The choice is made by the male, not the female. (b) The strain preference of two males may favor two females of dissimilar H-2 type (four of six comparisons), or of similar H-2 type (one of six comparisons). (c) Consistency of choice does not always correspond with strain preference. In one of six comparisons of H-2 genotypes there was no strain preference but pronounced consistency of choice by individual two male.This suggests memory, but fortuitous bias is not excluded. (d) Strain preference of the same male population may favor two male of the same or a different H-2 type, depending on which different H-2 type is offered as the choice alternative to self.These findings conform to a provisional model in which olfactory mating preference is governed by two linked genes in the region of H-2, one for the female signal and one for the male receptor. These mating preferences could in natural populations serve the purpose of increasing the representation of particular H-2 haplotypes or of maintaining heterozygosity of genes in the region of H-2.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (643K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Klein J. List of congenic lines of mice. I. Lines with differences at alloantigen loci. Transplantation. 1973 Jan;15(1):137–153. [PubMed]
  • Champlin AK, Dorr DL, Gates AH. Determining the stage of the estrous cycle in the mouse by the appearance of the vagina. Biol Reprod. 1973 May;8(4):491–494. [PubMed]
  • WHITTEN WK. Modification of the oestrous cycle of the mouse by external stimuli associated with the male. J Endocrinol. 1956 Jul;13(4):399–404. [PubMed]
  • BRUCE HM. An exteroceptive block to pregnancy in the mouse. Nature. 1959 Jul 11;184:105–105. [PubMed]
  • Vandenbergh JG. Male odor accelerates female sexual maturation in mice. Endocrinology. 1969 Mar;84(3):658–660. [PubMed]
  • Whitten WK, Bronson FH, Greenstein JA. Estrus-inducing pheromone of male mice: transport by movement of air. Science. 1968 Aug 9;161(3841):584–585. [PubMed]
  • Munro AJ, Taussig MJ. Two genes in the major histocompatibility complex control immune response. Nature. 1975 Jul 10;256(5513):103–106. [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of Experimental Medicine are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    NCBI Bookshelf books that cite the current articles.
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...