Genetic considerations in human sex-mate selection: Partners share human leukocyte antigen but not short-tandem-repeat identity markers

Moshe Israeli*, Don Kristt, Yuval Nardi, Tirza Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Problem: Previous studies support a role for MHC on mating preference, yet it remains unsettled as to whether mating occurs preferentially between individuals sharing human leukocyte antigen (HLA) determinants or not. Investigating sex-mate preferences in the contemporary Israeli population is of further curiosity being a population with distinct genetic characteristics, where multifaceted cultural considerations influence mate selection. Method of study: Pairs of male-female sex partners were evaluated in three groups. Two groups represented unmarried (n = 1002) or married (n = 308) couples and a control group of fictitious male-female couples. HLA and short-tandem-repeat (STR) genetic identification markers were assessed for the frequency of shared antigens and alleles. Results: Human leukocyte antigen results showed that Class I and/or Class II single antigen as well as double antigen sharing was more common in sex partners than in control group couples (P < 0.001). Married versus unmarried pairs were not distinguishable. In contrast, STR-DNA markers failed to differentiate between sex-mates and controls (P = 0.78). Conclusion: Sex partnerships shared HLA determinants more frequently than randomly constituted male-female pairs. The observed phenomenon does not reflect a syngenetic background between sex-mates as STR markers were not selectively shared. Thus, sex-mate selection in man may contravene the evolutionary pressure for genetic diversity in regard to HLA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-471
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Volume71
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Genetics
  • Human leukocyte antigen
  • Mating
  • Selection
  • Short tandem repeats

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