Is Promiscuity Associated with Enhanced Selection on MHC-DQa in Mice (genus Peromyscus)?

Posted on Posted in MHC, Peromyscus

I’d like to announce the arrive of my newest paper, Is Promiscuity Associated with Enhanced Selection on MHC-DQ? in Mice (genus Peromyscus)? , which was published in PLoS One yesterday.

MacManes MD, Lacey EA (2012) Is Promiscuity Associated with Enhanced Selection on MHC-DQ? in Mice (genus Peromyscus)? PLoS ONE 7(5): e37562.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037562

This paper was the result of chapter 2 of my dissertation, and it was a long time in the making. I’m going to try and put down a few thoughts on the history of the paper.

So I came to grad school in 2005, and was interested in working on the mating system of Peromyscus eremicus, a desert adapted rodent common in the Southwest US. I spent 2005 and 2006 in the desert, but as a result of a severe drought in 2005, populations were not as health as I had hoped, and I had to abandon ship on that project.  Somewhere in there, I had become interested in MHC, and that, combined with my interest in mating systems formed the idea about the relationship between immunogenes and sexual behavior.

Fast forward to 2010..

The paper was complete, and submitted to Molecular Ecology. It was rejected, basically because I was only looking at one pair of species, and thus the power to detect significant differences, and draw general conclusions was 0. Forget about that one pair is all that exists in nature, and that I had controlled for environmental exposure.

Ok, so forget about Molecular Ecology.. In between that fiasco and the current, I published the results of the metagenomic study of mouse vaginas where I show that bacterial diversity is enhanced in promiscuous species.. Are these sexually transmitted microbes?

MacManes. M.D. (2011). Promiscuity in mice is associated with increased Vaginal Bacterial Diversity. Naturwissenschaften 98: 951–960. PMID 21964973 [PDF]

Anyway, the new paper used that paper as the bases for the hypothesis of enhanced selection…


The new paper benefitted significantly from reviewer suggestions… more about that, as well as some detailed comments about analysis in another post.