School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Dominik Schmid


PhD Student



Project title: From field experiments to genomics: underpinning the genetic basis of mate choice.

Summary: Over the last decades, genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) have received much attention across different fields as they appear to play a key role at the interface between natural and sexual selection. The MHC is a large cluster of genes involved in immune response and molecular self/nonself discrimination. They directly act against different types of diseases including, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Hence, it is not surprising that several reports have shown correlations between certain MHC genotypes and the occurrence or severity of specific diseases and parasite infections. Furthermore MHC have been identified as genes under sexual selection: both mate choice for better ornaments and for good genes were experimentally demonstrated. While the MHC seem to represent important genes involved in mate choice, they are probably more because complex phenotype are also involved in traits selected by females. For this project, we proposed to combine field experiments, genomics and mate choice tests to identify genes underlying traits under sexual selection as well as those genes that provides increased individual fitness.