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Gene duplication and fragmentation in the zebra finch major histocompatibility complex

Balakrishnan, Christopher N., Ekblom, Robert, Völker, Martin, Westerdahl, Helena, Godinez, Ricardo, Kotkiewicz, Holly, Burt, David W., Graves, Tina A., Griffin, Darren K., Warren, Wesley C., and others. (2010) Gene duplication and fragmentation in the zebra finch major histocompatibility complex. BMC Biology, 8 (1). p. 29. ISSN 1741-7007. (doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-29) (KAR id:34156)

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Due to its high polymorphism and importance for disease resistance, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has been an important focus of many vertebrate genome projects. Avian MHC organization is of particular interest because the chicken Gallus gallus, the avian species with the best characterized MHC, possesses a highly streamlined minimal essential MHC, which is linked to resistance against specific pathogens. It remains unclear the extent to which this organization describes the situation in other birds and whether it represents a derived or ancestral condition. The sequencing of the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata genome, in combination with targeted bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequencing, has allowed us to characterize an MHC from a highly divergent and diverse avian lineage, the passerines.


The zebra finch MHC differs markedly from that of the chicken, the only other bird species with a complete genome sequence. The apparent lack of synteny between TAP and the expressed MHC Class I locus is in fact reminiscent of a pattern seen in some mammalian lineages and may represent convergent evolution. Our analyses of the zebra finch MHC suggest a complex history involving chromosomal fission, gene duplication and translocation in the history of the MHC in birds, and highlight striking differences in MHC structure and organization among avian lineages.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/1741-7007-8-29
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Biosciences
Depositing User: Darren Griffin
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2013 09:44 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 04:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Griffin, Darren K.:
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