Promiscuity and the primate immune system.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The behavioral and ecological factors involved in immune system evolution remain poorly explored. We present a phylogenetic analysis of white blood cell counts in primates to test three hypotheses related to disease risk: increases in risk are expected with group size or population density, exposure to soil-borne pathogens, and mating promiscuity. White blood cell counts were significantly greater in species where females have more mating partners, indicating that the risk of sexually transmitted disease is likely to be a major factor leading to systematic differences in the primate immune system.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nunn, CL; Gittleman, JL; Antonovics, J

Published Date

  • November 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 290 / 5494

Start / End Page

  • 1168 - 1170

PubMed ID

  • 11073457

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.290.5494.1168


  • eng