Heterozygosity and orange coloration are associated in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)


  • Data deposited at Dryad: doi:10.5061/dryad.9v216
  • Correction added on 19 December 2013, after first online publication: typographical errors corrected


The good-genes-as-heterozygosity hypothesis predicts that more elaborate male sexual ornaments are associated with higher levels of heterozygosity. Recent theoretical work suggests that such associations are likely to arise in finite, structured populations. We investigated the correlation between multilocus heterozygosity (MLH), which was estimated using 13 microsatellite loci, and male coloration in a wild population of guppies (Poecilia reticulata), a model species in sexual selection research. We found that MLH was a significant predictor of the relative area of orange spots, a trait that is subject to strong female preference in this species. Neither the relative area of black spots nor the number of black or orange spots was significantly correlated with MLH. We found no statistical support for local effects (i.e. strong effects of heterozygosity at specific markers), which suggests that relative orange spots area reflects genome-wide heterozygosity.