, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Conservation of the MHC-like region throughout evolution

  • Etienne G. J. DanchinEmail author
  • Laurent Abi-Rached
  • André Gilles
  • Pierre Pontarotti
Original Paper


Identification of conserved regions between the genomes of distant species is a crucial step in the reconstruction of the genomic organization of their last common ancestor. Here we confirm for the first time with robust evidence, the existence of a region of conserved synteny between the human genome and the Drosophila genome. This evolutionarily conserved synteny involves the human MHC and paralogous regions, and we identified 19 conserved genes between these two species in a Drosophila genomic region of less than 2 Mb. The statistical analysis of the distribution of these 19 genes between the Drosophila and human genomes shows that it cannot be explained by chance. Our study constitutes a first step towards the reconstruction of the genome of Urbilateria (the ancestor of all bilaterian) and allows for a better understanding of the evolutionary history of our genome as well as other metazoan genomes.


Comparative genomics MHC Evolution Phylogenomics Conserved syntenies 



We would like to thank Jeffrey Rasmussen and Michael F. Mc Dermott for helpful discussion and critical reading of the manuscript. Part of this research has been conducted at INSERM U119 Marseille, France. E.G.J. Danchin is a M.R.T. (French National Research and Technology Ministry) fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etienne G. J. Danchin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laurent Abi-Rached
    • 2
  • André Gilles
    • 1
  • Pierre Pontarotti
    • 1
  1. 1.EA Biodiversité 2202, Phylogenomics LaboratoryUniversité de ProvenceMarseilles Cedex 3France
  2. 2.Department of Structural BiologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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