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Variation in the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes is crucial for fighting pathogen assault. Because new alleles confer a selective advantage, MHC should readily introgress between species, even under limited hybridization. Using replicated transects through two hybrid zones between strongly reproductively isolated European newts, Lissotriton montandoni and L. vulgaris, we demonstrated recent and ongoing MHC class I and II introgression in the Carpathian region. The extent of introgression correlated with the age of contact. In the older zone, MHC similarity between species within transects exceeded similarity between transects within species, implying pervasive introgression - a massive exchange of MHC genes, not limited to specific variants. In simulations, the observed pattern emerged under the combined action of balancing selection and hybridization, but not when these processes acted separately. Thus, massive introgression at advanced stages of divergence can introduce novel and restore previously lost MHC variation, boosting the adaptive potential of hybridizing taxa. In consequence, MHC genes may be the last to stop introgressing between incipient species.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Molecular ecology
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Screening techniques first developed in yeast to identify genes encoding interacting proteins. Variations are used to evaluate interplay between proteins and other molecules. Two-hybrid techniques refer to analysis for protein-protein interactions, one-hybrid for DNA-protein interactions, three-hybrid interactions for RNA-protein interactions or ligand-based interactions. Reverse n-hybrid techniques refer to analysis for mutations or other small molecules that dissociate known interactions.
Proteins produced from GENES that have mutated by the fusing of protein coding regions of more than one gene. Such hybrid proteins are responsible for some instances of ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE and defective biological processes such as NEOPLASMS.
Genes which regulate or circumscribe the activity of other genes; specifically, genes which code for PROTEINS or RNAs which have GENE EXPRESSION REGULATION functions.
A form of gene interaction whereby the expression of one gene interferes with or masks the expression of a different gene or genes. Genes whose expression interferes with or masks the effects of other genes are said to be epistatic to the effected genes. Genes whose expression is affected (blocked or masked) are hypostatic to the interfering genes.
A genus of aquatic newts in the Salamandridae family. During breeding season many Triturus males have a dorsal crest which also serves as an accessory respiratory organ. One of the common Triturus species is Triturus cristatus (crested newt).