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MHC diversity in two Acrocephalus species: the outbred Great reed warbler and the inbred Seychelles warbler

  • David Richardson
  • Helena Westerdahl
Publishing year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 3523-3529
Publication/Series: Molecular Ecology
Volume: 12
Issue: 12
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The Great reed warbler (GRW) and the Seychelles warbler (SW) are congeners with markedly different demographic histories. The GRW is a normal outbred bird species while the SW population remains isolated and inbred after undergoing a severe population bottleneck. We examined variation at Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I exon 3 using restriction fragment length polymorphism, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing. Although genetic variation was higher in the GRW, considerable variation has been maintained in the SW. The ten exon 3 sequences found in the SW were as diverged from each other as were a random sub-sample of the 67 sequences from the GRW. There was evidence for balancing selection in both species, and the phylogenetic analysis showing that the exon 3 sequences did not separate according to species, was consistent with transspecies evolution of the MHC.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Long-term study of great reed warblers
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 0962-1083
Helena Westerdahl
E-mail: helena [dot] westerdahl [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer


+46 46 222 36 69



Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab


Doctoral students and postdocs

Research fellows


Luz Garcia-Longoria

PhD students, main supervisor

Samantha Mellinger

PhD students, assistant supervisor

Gustaf Ekelund Ugge

Helena Westerdahl w house sparrow