The implications of intergenic polymorphism for major histocompatibility complex evolution

Colm O'Huigin, Yoko Satta, Anja Hausmann, Roger L. Dawkins, Jan Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A systematic survey of six intergenic regions flanking the human HLA-B locus in eight haplotypes reveals the regions to be up to 20 times more polymorphic than the reported average degree of human neutral polymorphism. Furthermore, the extent of polymorphism is directly related to the proximity to the HLA-B locus. Apparently linkage to HLA-B locus alleles, which are under balancing selection, maintains the neutral polymorphism of adjacent regions. For these linked polymorphisms to persist, recombination in the 200-kb interval from HLA-B to TNF must occur at a low frequency. The high degree of polymorphism found distal to HLA-B suggests that recombination is uncommon on both sides of the HLA-B locus. The least-squares estimate is 0.15% per megabase with an estimated range from 0.02 to 0.54%. These findings place strong restrictions on possible recombinational mechanisms for the generation of diversity at the HLA-B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-877
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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