The evolutionary ecology of the major histocompatibility complex

S B Piertney, M K Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

612 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has become a paradigm for how selection can act to maintain adaptively important genetic diversity in natural populations. Here, we review the contribution of studies on the MHC in non-model species to our understanding of how selection affects MHC diversity, emphasising how ecological and ethological processes influence the tempo and mode of evolution at the MHC, and conversely, how variability at the MHC affects individual fitness, population dynamics and viability. We focus on three main areas: the types of information that have been used to detect the action of selection on MHC genes; the relative contributions of parasite-mediated and sexual selection on the maintenance of MHC diversity; and possible future lines of research that may help resolve some of the unanswered issues associated with MHC evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721
Number of pages15
JournalHeredity
Volume96
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • balancing selection
  • mate choice
  • MHC
  • parasites
  • sexual selection
  • AMINO-ACID SITES
  • MHC CLASS-II
  • SALMON SALMO-SALAR
  • OSTERTAGIA-CIRCUMCINCTA INFECTION
  • NONSYNONYMOUS SUBSTITUTION RATES
  • FREQUENCY-DEPENDENT SELECTION
  • DEER ODOCOILEUS-VIRGINIANUS
  • LAGOPUS-LAGOPUS-SCOTICUS
  • SALVELINUS-ALPINUS L.
  • MINIMAL-ESSENTIAL-MHC

Cite this