Chimpanzees breed with genetically dissimilar mates.
Inbreeding adversely affects fitness, whereas heterozygosity often augments it. Therefore, mechanisms to avoid inbreeding and increase genetic distance between mates should be advantageous in species where adult relatives reside together. Here we investigate mate choice for genetic dissimilarity in chimpanzees, a species in which many females avoid inbreeding through dispersal, but where promiscuous mating and sexual coercion can limit choice when related adults reside together. We take advantage of incomplete female dispersal in Gombe National Park, Tanzania to compare mate choice for genetic dissimilarity among immigrant and natal females in two communities using pairwise relatedness measures in 135 genotyped chimpanzees. As expected, natal females were more related to adult males in their community than were immigrant females. However, among 62 breeding events, natal females were not more related to the sires of their offspring than immigrant females, despite four instances of close inbreeding. Moreover, females were generally less related to the sires of their offspring than to non-sires. These results demonstrate that chimpanzees may be capable of detecting relatedness and selecting mates on the basis of genetic distance.
Walker, KK; Rudicell, RS; Li, Y; Hahn, BH; Wroblewski, E; Pusey, AE
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