|Recently, the MHC research group has become involved in
identifying and characterising of salmonid class I and class II alpha and beta genes. So
far, we have been able to identify a number of rainbow trout class II beta gene alleles.
In a study to establish linkage between class I and class II genes we have isolated a
large number of alleles of both class I alpha and class II beta chain encoding genes in
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). In addition to these MHC alleles we have isolated
a class I, and class II alpha cDNA in rainbow trout. Thus, the MHC research group has
worked on both class I and class II MHC genes in salmonid fish.
Now it has been
established by us and others that the MHC genes in salmonid fish are highly polymorphic ,
we can now turn to studying this system in natural populations. The close relationship
between all of the MHC sequences known in different salmonid species will make it easy to
identify MHC genes in the brown trout. Especially , identification of partial allelic MHC
sequences should feasible by PCR using primer sequences derived from other salmonid
As we have provided evidence for a strong selection pressure on MHC genes in the Barbus
species complex of Lake Tana (Ethiopia), during adaptive radiation, it would be of
interest to extend such studies to a species, which has well-defined populations with
different life histories. The MHC research group would like to study the nature and extend
of polymorphism of MHC genes between anadromous, non-anadromous, and mixed populations.
The working hypothesis is that those different population will show different frequencies
of MHC alleles based on the fact that these different populations experience different
pathogen loads, both quantitative and qualitative.