Marriage does not relate to major histocompatibility complex: a genetic analysis based on 3691 couples

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Optimization of chances for healthy offspring is thought to be one of the factors driving mate choice and compatibility of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is assumed to determine the offspring's fitness. While humans have been claimed to be able to perceive information of MHC compatibility via the olfactory channel, it remains unknown whether humans use such information for mate choice. By investigation of 3691 married couples, we observed that the high polymorphism of MHC leads to a low chance for homozygous offspring. MHC similarity between couples did not differ from chance, we hence observed no MHC effect in married couples. Hormonal contraception at the time of relationship initiation had no significant effect towards enhanced similarity. A low variety of alleles within a postcode area led to a higher likelihood of homozygous offspring. Based on this data, we conclude that there is no pattern of MHC dis-assortative mating in a genetically diverse Western society. We discuss the question of olfactory mate preference, in-group mating bias and the high polymorphism as potential explanations.


Seiten (von - bis)20201800
FachzeitschriftProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 14 Okt. 2020

Externe IDs

PubMedCentral PMC7657850
Scopus 85092626662
ORCID /0000-0002-6555-5854/work/142250252
ORCID /0000-0001-9713-0183/work/146645342



  • Animals, Female, Humans, Major Histocompatibility Complex/physiology, Male, Marriage, Reproduction/genetics