Nomenclature for Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes and alleles in species other than humans and mice has historically been overseen either informally by groups generating sequences, or by formal nomenclature committees set up by the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG). The suggestion for a Comparative MHC Nomenclature Committee was made at the ISAG meeting held in Gottingen, Germany (2002), and the committee met for the first time at the Institute for Animal Health, Compton, UK in January 2003. To publicize its activity and extend its scope, the committee organized a workshop at the International Veterinary Immunology Symposium (IVIS) in Quebec (2004) where it was decided to affiliate with the Veterinary Immunology Committee (VIC) of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS). The goals of the committee are to establish a common framework and guidelines for MHC nomenclature in any species; to demonstrate this in the form of a database that will ensure that in the future, researchers can easily access a source of validated MHC sequences for any species; to facilitate discussion on this area between existing groups and nomenclature committees. A further meeting of the committee was held in September 2005 in Glasgow, UK. This was attended by most of the existing committee members with some additional invited participants (Table 1). The aims of this meeting were to facilitate the inclusion of new species onto the database, to discuss extension, improvement and funding of the database, and to address a number of nomenclature issues raised at the previous workshop.
- MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX