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Immunogenetics. 1999 Nov;50(3-4):168-200.

The gene conversion hypothesis of MHC evolution: a review.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Z├╝lpicher Strasse 47, D-50674 Cologne, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Immunogenetics 2000 Jun;51(7):613.


Gene conversion is often invoked to explain the evolution of sequence patterns observed in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes and their alleles. This is the gene conversion hypothesis of MHC sequence evolution. These observations and their interpretation probably belong in a larger theoretical framework, namely the evolution of systems of resistance to rapidly evolving pathogens. This review looks critically at the evidence in favor of the gene conversion hypothesis in this context. We conclude that the case for the existence of an adaptive mechanism in the MHC favoring gene conversion mutations is not proven.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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