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Immunogenetics. 2003 Oct;55(7):480-90. Epub 2003 Oct 1.

Initial characterization of a protochordate histocompatibility locus.

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  • 1Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA.


The colonial protochordate, Botryllus schlosseri, undergoes a natural transplantation reaction which is controlled by a single, highly polymorphic locus called the Fu/HC. We are using map-based cloning to identify Fu/HC gene(s), and have currently delineated their location to an approximately 1-cM region of the B. schlosseri genome. The Fu/HC physical map currently consists of 85 sequence-tagged sites mapped on a minimum tiling path of 800 kb which consists of five contigs, with four gaps remaining to be crossed, and is estimated to be 75% completed. Approximately half this region has been sequenced throughout the locus, allowing the first analysis of a metazoan histocompatibility locus outside of vertebrates. This has resulted in the identification of 18 predicted genes, a number of which have been found to be expressed. Several of these genes are well conserved among the chordates; however, none of the predicted or expressed genes are linked within the genome of any organism in the databases. In addition, the Fu/HC is one of the most polymorphic loci ever described, and physical mapping has revealed that the locus is quite dynamic, and includes features such as hotspots of recombination.

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