The Mhc class II of the Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) consists of low numbers of B and Y genes with variable diversity and expression
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- Strand, T., Westerdahl, H., Höglund, J. et al. Immunogenetics (2007) 59: 725. doi:10.1007/s00251-007-0234-6
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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.