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Data from: Selective pressures on MHC class II genes in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) as inferred by hierarchical analysis of population structure.

Citation

Herdegen, Magdalena; Babik, Wieslaw; Radwan, Jacek (2014), Data from: Selective pressures on MHC class II genes in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) as inferred by hierarchical analysis of population structure., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h7m7t

Abstract

Genes of the major histocompatibility complex, which are the most polymorphic of all vertebrate genes, are a pre-eminent system for the study of selective pressures that arise from host–pathogen interactions. Balancing selection capable of maintaining high polymorphism should lead to the homogenization of MHC allele frequencies among populations, but there is some evidence to suggest that diversifying selection also operates on the MHC. However, the pattern of population structure observed at MHC loci is likely to depend on the spatial and/or temporal scale examined. Here, we investigated selection acting on MHC genes at different geographic scales using Venezuelan guppy populations inhabiting four regions. We found a significant correlation between MHC and microsatellite allelic richness across populations, which suggests the role of genetic drift in shaping MHC diversity. However, compared to microsatellites, more MHC variation was explained by differences between populations within larger geographic regions and less by the differences between the regions. Furthermore, among proximate populations, variation in MHC allele frequencies was significantly higher compared to microsatellites, indicating that selection acting on MHC may increase population structure at small spatial scales. However, in populations that have significantly diverged at neutral markers, the population-genetic signature of diversifying selection may be eradicated in the long term by that of balancing selection, which acts to preserve rare alleles and thus maintain a common pool of MHC alleles.

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