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salmon, major histocompatibility complex, reproductive success, mate choice, sexual selection, fitness

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Detailed analysis of variation in reproductive success can provide an understanding of the selective pressures that drive the evolution of adaptations. Here, we use experimental spawning channels to assess phenotypic and genotypic correlates of reproductive success in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Groups of 36 fish in three different sex ratios (1:2, 1:1 and 2:1) were allowed to spawn and the offspring were collected after emergence from the gravel. Microsatellite genetic markers were used to assign parentage of each offspring, and the parents were also typed at the major histocompatibility class IIB locus (MHC). We found that large males, and males with brighter coloration and a more green/blue hue on their lateral integument sired more offspring, albeit only body size and brightness had independent effects. There was no similar relationship between these variables and female reproductive success. Furthermore, there was no effect of sex ratio on the strength or significance of any of the correlations. Females mated non-randomly at the MHC, appearing to select mates that produced offspring with greater genetic diversity as measured by amino-acid divergence. Females mated randomly with respect to male genetic relatedness and males mated randomly with respect to both MHC and genetic relatedness. These results indicate that sexual selection favours increased body size and perhaps integument coloration in males as well as increases genetic diversity at the MHC by female mate choice.



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