Why you play the game

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Matt finds some unexpected data regarding MHC polymorphism & mating systems. That’s the great thing about science: confusing or unexpected results can be a good thing! Science is in part about 3 1/2 yard runs which push the ball forward and extend the drive. But sometimes science is also about leaving the stadium and starting a new game. I have a friend who just stumbled onto results which might decide a central debate within his field, against the “side” he was on! But he’s happy about it, it might make his career, and he was probably wrong so it is all for the good.



  1. It would be interesting to compare the psychological profile of a someone like Matt, who is not only willing to adjust his thinking with new data but does so gladly, with the vast majority of people who simply do not want to admit they are wrong when they have poured their energy into something, like a passionate debate.

  2. polymorphism at MHC loci is costly 

  3. i think incompatibilities.

  4. polymorphism has been shown to be costly in terms of autoimmunity and materno-fetal interactions..

  5. Seems like the (increase in) costs of polymorphism would go down quickly after there are two alleles at a site, but the benefits would keep going up. So once you have some polymorphism you might as well get as much as possible.