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The Mhc class II of the Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) consists of low numbers of B and Y genes with variable diversity and expression

  • Tanja Strand
  • Helena Westerdahl
  • Jacob Hoglund
  • Rauno V. Alatalo
  • Heli Siitari
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 725-734
Publication/Series: Immunogenetics
Volume: 59
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

We found that the Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) possess low numbers of Mhc class II B (BLB) and Y (YLB) genes with variable diversity and expression. We have therefore shown, for the first time, that another bird species (in this case, a wild lek-breeding galliform) shares several features of the simple Mhc of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus). The Black grouse BLB genes showed the same level of polymorphism that has been reported in chicken, and we also found indications of balancing selection in the peptide-binding regions. The YLB genes were less variable than the BLB genes, also in accordance with earlier studies in chicken, although their functional significance still remains obscure. We hypothesize that the YLB genes could have been under purifying selection, just as the mammal Mhc-E gene cluster.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Rfp-Y
  • BLB
  • purifying selection
  • avian Mhc
  • Mhc class II
  • YLB


  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1432-1211
Helena Westerdahl
E-mail: helena [dot] westerdahl [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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+46 46 222 36 69



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Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab


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Luz Garcia-Longoria

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Samantha Mellinger

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Helena Westerdahl w house sparrow