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The overall aim of this study was to test directly for genetic …
Biology Articles » Zoology » Ornithology » Genetic covariance between indices of body condition and immunocompetence in a passerine bird » Conclusion
Our results support a key prediction of the CMIH hypothesis; that there is positive genetic covariance between an index of body condition and an index of immunocompetence. More generally, although we have primarily been concerned here with the link between our indices of immunocompetence and body condition in the context of the CMIH hypothesis, a genetic link between indices of condition and immune function would also have implications outside sexual selection theory. Condition-dependence is a general feature of many aspects of life histories in many animal species [1,2]. The genetic correlation between our indices of immunocompetence and body condition that we have found in zebra finches suggests that the inter-relationships between many such traits may also prove to be parasite-mediated [12,19]. The prevalence of condition-dependent life histories may therefore arise, in part at least, through parasite resistance being a target of both natural and sexual selection. The ongoing challenge is to test the generality of these findings, that is whether there is significant positive genetic covariance between other indices of body condition and immunocompetence. More generally, it would be interesting to know the pattern of genetic covariance between various measures of condition and a suite of fitness-related traits.
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