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Genetics. Mar 1999; 151(3): 1115–1122.
PMCID: PMC1460519

Major histocompatibility complex differentiation in Sacramento River chinook salmon.


The chinook salmon of the Sacramento River, California, have been reduced to a fraction of their former abundance because of human impact and use of the river system. Here we examine the genetic variation at a major histocompatibility complex class II exon in the four Sacramento chinook salmon runs. Examination of the alleles found in these and other chinook salmon revealed nucleotide patterns consistent with selection for amino acid replacement at the putative antigen-binding sites. We found a significant amount of variation in each of the runs, including the federally endangered winter run. All of the samples were in Hardy-Weinberg proportions. A significant amount of genetic differentiation between runs was revealed by several measures of differentiation. Winter run was the most genetically divergent, while the spring, late-fall, and fall runs were less differentiated.

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