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The Role of MHC Genes in Tasmanian Devil Reproductive Success 

Mate Choice and the Devil

Females of some species will choose males that are different from themselves in a region of genes called Major Histocompatibility (MHC). Further, breeding success and health of offspring may be dictated by MHC composition of a parental pair. This project investigated the role of MHC in mate choice, reproductive success and health of Tasmanian Devil offspring. No clear pattern was found between MHC and reproductive success. However, larger females had fewer common alleles with males than smaller females, possibly indicating that larger females are able to exert more choice by rejecting unsuitable males.

Project Partners

Taronga: Dr Rebecca Spindler
University of Sydney: Prof Kathy Belov, Ms Tracey Russell (PhD student)
Zoo and Aquarium Association: Dr Carolyn Hogg

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