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Genetic Diversity and Differentiation at Structurally Varying MHC Haplotypes and Microsatellites in Bottlenecked Populations of Endangered Crested Ibis

1
MOE Key Laboratory of Biosystems Homeostasis & Protection, State Conservation Centre for Gene Resources of Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2
Department of Agriculture, Zhejiang Open University, Hangzhou 310012, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2019, 8(4), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8040377
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in Health and Disease)
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Abstract

Investigating adaptive potential and understanding the relative roles of selection and genetic drift in populations of endangered species are essential in conservation. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes characterized by spectacular polymorphism and fitness association have become valuable adaptive markers. Herein we investigate the variation of all MHC class I and II genes across seven populations of an endangered bird, the crested ibis, of which all current individuals are offspring of only two pairs. We inferred seven multilocus haplotypes from linked alleles in the Core Region and revealed structural variation of the class II region that probably evolved through unequal crossing over. Based on the low polymorphism, structural variation, strong linkage, and extensive shared alleles, we applied the MHC haplotypes in population analysis. The genetic variation and population structure at MHC haplotypes are generally concordant with those expected from microsatellites, underlining the predominant role of genetic drift in shaping MHC variation in the bottlenecked populations. Nonetheless, some populations showed elevated differentiation at MHC, probably due to limited gene flow. The seven populations were significantly differentiated into three groups and some groups exhibited genetic monomorphism, which can be attributed to founder effects. We therefore propose various strategies for future conservation and management. View Full-Text
Keywords: MHC; genetic drift; haplotype; crested ibis; founder effect; bottleneck; conservation genetics; selection MHC; genetic drift; haplotype; crested ibis; founder effect; bottleneck; conservation genetics; selection
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Lan, H.; Zhou, T.; Wan, Q.-H.; Fang, S.-G. Genetic Diversity and Differentiation at Structurally Varying MHC Haplotypes and Microsatellites in Bottlenecked Populations of Endangered Crested Ibis. Cells 2019, 8, 377.

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