Functional significance of MHC variation in mate choice, reproductive outcome, and disease risk

Book Section

© Oxford University Press 2008. All rights reserved. This chapter surveys connections between the nervous system and the immune system, and suggests that their connections mediate many significant health outcomes. The nervous and immune systems are intimately connected by shared developmental, functional and biochemical pathways. The extraordinary diversity and remarkable evolution of MHC genes have been influenced by several distinct forces, including pathogenmediated selection, and sexual and reproductive selection. MHC diversity influences the risk and progression of infectious, reproductive, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases. MHC genes play a significant role in olfactory communication, behavior, and mate choice in vertebrates, including humans. The unique evolution of MHC genes contributed to the prevalence of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in modern human populations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Loisel, DA; Alberts, SC; Ober, C

Published Date

  • April 1, 2010

Book Title

  • Evolution in Health and Disease

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780191728167

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.003.0008

Citation Source

  • Scopus