A uniquely high level of recombination at the HLA-B locus

Stephen N. Mcadam, Jonathan E. Boyson, Xiaomin Liu, Theodore L. Garber, Austin L. Hughes, Ronald E. Bontrop, David I. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci are some of the most polymorphic genes in the animal kingdom. Recently, it has been suggested that although most of the human MHC loci are relatively stable, the HLA-B locus can undergo rapid changes, especially in isolated populations. To investigate the mechanisms of HLA-B evolution we have compared the sequences of 19 HLA-B homologues from chimpanzees and bonobos to 65 HLA-B sequences. Analysis of the chimpanzee and bonobo HLA-B homologues revealed that despite obvious similarities between chimpanzee and human alleles in exon 2, there was little conservation of exon 3 between humans and the two chimpanzee species. This finding suggests that, unlike all other HLA loci, recombination has characterized the HLA-B locus and its homologues for over 5 million years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5893-5897
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 21 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • bonobo
  • chimpanzee
  • evolution
  • major histocompatibility complex class I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A uniquely high level of recombination at the HLA-B locus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this