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Genetics. 1997 Feb; 145(2): 421–433.
PMCID: PMC1207806

Genetic Variation of Major Histocompatibility Complex and Microsatellite Loci: A Comparison in Bighorn Sheep


Examining and comparing genetic variation for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and microsatellite (MS) loci in the same individuals provides an opportunity to understand the forces influencing genetic variation. We examined five MHC and three MS loci in 235 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) from 14 populations and found that both types of loci were highly variable and were in Hardy-Weinberg proportions. Mean F(ST) values for both markers were very similar and MHC and MS genetic variability was predominantly distributed within rather than among populations. However, analyses of genetic distances and tree topologies revealed different spatial patterns of variation for the two types of loci. Collectively, these results indicated that neutral forces substantially influenced MS and MHC variation, and they provided limited evidence for selection acting on the MHC.

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Selected References

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