Major histocomaptibility genes in the Lake Tana African “large “ barb species flock: Evidence for complete partioning of class II B, but not class I, genes among different species.

C. P. Kruiswijk, T. T. Hermsen, J. van Heerwaarden, B. Dixon, H. F. J. Savelkoul, Rene Josephus Maria Stet

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The 16 African 'large' barb fish species of Lake Tana inhabit different ecological niches, exploit different food webs and have different temporal and spatial spawning patterns within the lake. This unique fish species flock is thought to be the result of adaptive radiation within the past 5 million years. Previous analyses of major histocompatibility class II B exon 2 sequences in four Lake Tana African large barb species revealed that these sequences are indeed tinder selection. No sharing of class II B alleles was observed among the four Lake Tana African large barb species. In this study we analysed the class II B exon 2 sequences of seven additional Lake Tana African large barb species and African large barbs from the Blue Nile and its tributaries. In addition, the presence and variability of major histocompatibility complex class I UA exon 3 sequences in six Lake Tana and Blue Nile African large barb species was analysed. Phylogenetic lineages are maintained by purifying or neutral selection on non-peptide binding regions. Class II B intron I and exon 2 sequences were not shared among the different Lake Tana African large barb species or with the riverine barb species. In contrast, identical class I UA exon 3 sequences were found both in the lacustrine and riverine barb species. Our analyses demonstrate complete partitioning of class II B alleles among Lake Tana African large barb species. In contrast, class I alleles remain for the large part shared among species. These different modes of evolution probably reflect the unlinked nature of major histocompatibility genes in teleost fishes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)894-908
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • fish
    • species flock
    • evolution
    • MHC
    • classI
    • class II
    • LOCUS

    Cite this