Original Paper


, Volume 57, Issue 12, pp 953-958

First online:

ISAG/IUIS-VIC Comparative MHC Nomenclature Committee report, 2005

  • Shirley A. EllisAffiliated withImmunology Division, Institute for Animal Health Email author 
  • , Ronald E. BontropAffiliated withBiomedical Primate Research Centre
  • , Doug F. AntczakAffiliated withCornell University
  • , Keith BallingallAffiliated withMoredun Research Institute
  • , Christopher J. DaviesAffiliated withWashington State University
  • , Jim KaufmanAffiliated withImmunology Division, Institute for Animal Health
  • , Lorna J. KennedyAffiliated withCentre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research
  • , James RobinsonAffiliated withAnthony Nolan Research Institute
  • , Douglas M. SmithAffiliated withBaylor University Medical Center
    • , Michael J. StearAffiliated withDepartment Veterinary Medicine, Glasgow University
    • , Rene J. M. StetAffiliated withUniversity of Aberdeen
    • , Matthew J. WallerAffiliated withAnthony Nolan Research Institute
    • , Lutz WalterAffiliated withGerman Primate Centre
    • , Steven G. E. MarshAffiliated withAnthony Nolan Research Institute

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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 Göttingen, 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.


MHC Nomenclature