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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
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
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2007 (English)In: Immunogenetics, ISSN 0093-7711, E-ISSN 1432-1211, Vol. 59, no 9, 725-734 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 59, no 9, 725-734 p.
Keyword [en]
Mhc class II, YLB, Rfp-Y, BLB, Avian Mhc, Purifying selection
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Genetics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-14669DOI: 10.1007/s00251-007-0234-6ISI: 000249503200004PubMedID: 17653538OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-14669DiVA: diva2:42440
Available from: 2008-01-31 Created: 2008-01-31 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. European Black Grouse: MHC Genetic Diversity and Population Structure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>European Black Grouse: MHC Genetic Diversity and Population Structure
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Black grouse Tetrao tetrix is a bird species composed of large, continuous as well as severely reduced and fragmented populations, making it an optimal species to investigate how genetic diversity is affected by habitat fragmentation. I have focused on genetic diversity in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) to measure the ability of the black grouse to respond to environmental changes.

I partly characterized MHC class II in black grouse and found striking similarities with chicken MHC class II. I demonstrated that black grouse possess a similar compact MHC as chicken with few MHC class II B (BLB) and Y (YLB) loci. I did not find evidence of balancing selection in YLB so I concentrated further studies on BLB.

I developed a PCR-based screening method for amplifying and separating expressed BLB alleles in European black grouse populations. Small fragmented populations had lost neutral genetic diversity (based on microsatellites and SNPs) compared to samples from the historical distribution and contemporary large populations. There was also a trend, albeit less pronounced, for reduced MHC diversity in these populations. Neutral markers in small isolated populations were affected by increased levels of genetic drift and were therefore genetically differentiated compared to other populations. MHC markers on the other hand, were not subjected to genetic drift to the same extent probably due a long historic process of balancing selection.

Inferences of heterozygosity and evolutionary patterns as well as detailed correlations to reproductive success and diseases cannot be performed until MHC can be amplified in a locus-specific manner. Therefore, I developed a single locus sequence-based typing method for independently amplifying MHC class II B loci (BLB1 and BLB2). I found that BLB1 and BLB2 were duplicated in a common ancestor to chickens and black grouse and that these loci are subjected to homogenizing concerted evolution due to inter-genetic exchange between loci after species divergence.  I could also verify that both BLB1 and BLB2 were transcribed in black grouse and under balancing selection.

This collection of work has significance for future conservation of black grouse as well as research and management of zoonotic diseases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 59 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 869
Major Histocompatibility Complex, BLB, balancing selection, concerted evolution, bottleneck, fragmentation, 3'UTR
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Ecology Genetics
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Population Biology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160042 (URN)978-91-554-8188-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-25, Zootissalen, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-11-04 Created: 2011-10-13 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved

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