• MHC-mediated spatial distribution in brown trout (Salmo trutta) fry

      O'Farrell, Brian; Benzie, John A. H.; McGinnity, Philip; Carlsson, Jens; De Eyto, Elvira; Dillane, Eileen; Graham, Conor; Coughlan, James; Cross, Tom (Nature Publishing Group, 2011-09)
      Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-linked microsatellite data and parental assignment data for a group of wild brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) provide evidence of closer spatial aggregation among fry sharing greater numbers of MHC class I alleles under natural conditions. This result confirms predictions from laboratory experiments demonstrating a hierarchical preference for association of fry sharing MHC alleles. Full-siblings emerge from the same nest (redd), and a passive kin association pattern arising from limited dispersal from the nest (redd effect) would predict that all such pairs would have a similar distribution. However, this study demonstrates a strong, significant trend for reduced distance between pairs of full-sibling fry sharing more MHC class I alleles reflecting their closer aggregation (no alleles shared, 311.5±(s.e.)21.03m; one allele shared, 222.2±14.49m; two alleles shared, 124.9±23.88m; P<0.0001). A significant trend for closer aggregation among fry sharing more MHC class I alleles was also observed in fry pairs, which were known to have different mothers and were otherwise unrelated (ML-r=0) (no alleles: 457.6±3.58m; one allele (422.4±3.86 m); two alleles (381.7±10.72 m); P<0.0001). These pairs are expected to have emerged from different redds and a passive association would then be unlikely. These data suggest that sharing MHC class I alleles has a role in maintaining kin association among full-siblings after emergence. This study demonstrates a pattern consistent with MHC-mediated kin association in the wild for the first time.