Evolution of diversity of major histocompatibility complex genes

Jacek Radwan

Abstract


Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are of fundamental significance for medical sciences, and they are also important for conservation of endangered species. At the same time, extreme polymorphism of MHC genes has attracted much interest from evolutionary iologists. Apart from understanding the evolution of this fascinating phenomenon, results achieved by evolutionary biologists have medical and epidemiological implications. While MHC genes are among most thoroughly studied in terms of sequence evolution and selective pressures shaping their immense diversity, many important questions are still open. New generation, high-throughput sequencing technologies allow efficient genotyping of multi-locus MHC genotypes and should allow fast progress in research on evolution of MHC genes.

Keywords


major histocompatibility complex; genetic polymorphism; host-parasite coevolution; positive selection; CNV; introgression

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