University of Oulu

Watts, P., Kallio, E., Koskela, E., Lonn, E., Mappes, T., Mokkonen, M. (2017) Stabilizing selection on microsatellite allele length at arginine vasopressin 1a receptor and oxytocin receptor loci. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284 (1869), 20171896. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1896

Stabilizing selection on microsatellite allele length at arginine vasopressin 1a receptor and oxytocin receptor loci

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Author: Watts, Phillip C.1,2; Kallio, Eva R.1,2; Koskela, Esa2;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu
2Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä
3Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: The Royal Society, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-01-15


The loci arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (avpr1a) and oxytocin receptor (oxtr) have evolutionarily conserved roles in vertebrate social and sexual behaviour. Allelic variation at a microsatellite locus in the 5′ regulatory region of these genes is associated with fitness in the bank vole Myodes glareolus. Given the low frequency of long and short alleles at these microsatellite loci in wild bank voles, we used breeding trials to determine whether selection acts against long and short alleles. Female bank voles with intermediate length avpr1a alleles had the highest probability of breeding, while male voles whose avpr1a alleles were very different in length had reduced probability of breeding. Moreover, there was a significant interaction between male and female oxtr genotypes, where potential breeding pairs with dissimilar length alleles had reduced probability of breeding. These data show how genetic variation at microsatellite loci associated with avpr1a and oxtr is associated with fitness, and highlight complex patterns of selection at these loci. More widely, these data show how stabilizing selection might act on allele length frequency distributions at gene-associated microsatellite loci.

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Series: Proceedings of the Royal Society. B, Biological sciences
ISSN: 0962-8452
ISSN-E: 1471-2954
ISSN-L: 0962-8452
Volume: 284
Issue: 1869
Article number: 20171896
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1896
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: This research was supported by Biological Interactions Doctoral Programme (to E.L.), Academy of Finland (grant nos 257340, 119200, 115961, 140767 to E.K., 257729 to M.M. and 118603, 109165, 132190, 204284, 268670 to T.M.) and Center of Excellence in Evolutionary Research.
Dataset Reference: Data are available from Dryad:
Copyright information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.