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Health

Father's allele knows best....

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 13, 2006 10:23 AM

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I'm reading Austin Burt & Robert Trivers' Genes in Conflict, and I'm in the chapter on genomic imprinting. They make a reference to a paper published a few years back which I vaguely remembered, by I decided to look it up again. Titled Paternally inherited HLA alleles are associated with women's choice of male odor, the authors found that women preferred the smell of men whose HLA alleles matched their paternally transmitted HLA alleles. Trivers & Burt point out that the actual HLA alleles the father actually had but did not transmit were not relevant, so that eliminates the confounding impact of the father's smell since about half the phenotype would be produced by alleles which weren't transmitted (let's ignore issures of inbreeding, etc.). The mother's HLA alleles were totally irrelevant. It is as if paternally transmitted HLA alleles have a special hotline to the olfactory system. Below the fold is a very interesting graph that shows the linear dosage dependent response on paternally transmitted alleles and the lack of relationship to maternal alleles....

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