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Immunogenetic novelty confers a selective advantage in host–pathogen coevolution [PNAS]

Keywords : host–pathogen coevolution, Red Queen coevolution, major histocompatibility complex, Poecilia reticulata, frequency-dependent selection

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is crucial to the adaptive immune response of vertebrates and is among the most polymorphic gene families known. Its high diversity is usually attributed to selection imposed by fast-evolving pathogens. Pathogens are thought to evolve to escape recognition by common immune alleles, and, hence, novel MHC alleles, introduced through mutation, recombination, or gene flow, are predicted to give hosts superior resistance. Although this theoretical prediction underpins host–pathogen “Red Queen” coevolution, it has not been demonstrated in the context of natural MHC diversity. Here, we experimentally tested whether novel MHC variants (both alleles and functional “supertypes”) increased resistance of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to a common ectoparasite (Gyrodactylus turnbulli).(...)

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