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PLoS One. 2009 Jul 27;4(7):e6391. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006391.

Does genetic diversity predict health in humans?

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia. hannelie01@graduate.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

Genetic diversity, especially at genes important for immune functioning within the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC), has been associated with fitness-related traits, including disease resistance, in many species. Recently, genetic diversity has been associated with mate preferences in humans. Here we asked whether these preferences are adaptive in terms of obtaining healthier mates. We investigated whether genetic diversity (heterozygosity and standardized mean d(2)) at MHC and nonMHC microsatellite loci, predicted health in 153 individuals. Individuals with greater allelic diversity (d(2)) at nonMHC loci and at one MHC locus, linked to HLA-DRB1, reported fewer symptoms over a four-month period than individuals with lower d(2). In contrast, there were no associations between MHC or nonMHC heterozygosity and health. NonMHC-d(2) has previously been found to predict male preferences for female faces. Thus, the current findings suggest that nonMHC diversity may play a role in both natural and sexual selection acting on human populations.

PMID:
19633717
PMCID:
PMC2712076
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0006391
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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