Stabilizing selection on microsatellite allele length at arginine vasopressin 1a receptor and oxytocin receptor loci Journal Articles uri icon

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  • 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.


  • Watts, Phillip C
  • Kallio, Eva R
  • Koskela, Esa
  • Lonn, Eva
  • Mappes, Tapio
  • Mokkonen, Mikael

publication date

  • December 20, 2017