Lutz Walter Pages 51 - 57 ( 7 )
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and NK cell receptor gene regions are a paradigm of genomic plasticity as they reveal a considerable degree of diversity, exemplified by high allelic polymorphism, genomic duplications and contractions, and formation of gene families. Both genetic components show signs of rapid evolution due to strong selective pressure to combat pathogens. Comparative analyses of these genomic regions in various primates revealed considerable differences, reflecting species-specific adaptations to pathogenic threat or different strategies to combat infections. MHC and NK receptor genomic diversity in populations are important factors that determine susceptibility or resistance to a variety of diseases including autoimmune and infectious diseases as well as reproductive success.
MHC, NK Receptor, Genomic Variability, KIR, NKC, LRC
Department of Primate Genetics,German Primate Centre, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Gottingen, Germany.