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In the present study, chickens of four lines divergently selected for high (H) and low (L) immunocompetence in replicate were analyzed to investigate polymorphisms of MHC class II and MHC class IV on the molecular level associated with selection. The long-term selection experiment for multitrait immunocompetence was carried out in replicates and allows, therefore, the opportunity to distinguish effects of selection from other genetic factors. The SacI-digested DNA was hybridized individually with MHC class II and MHC class IV gene probes. The MHC class II RFLP analysis revealed four polymorphic bands and only one of them showed a significant difference between the selection directions H and L pooled between replicates. The small frequency differences of this band relative to the long-term selection suggest that this MHC class II fragment may contain genetic elements that are only slightly associated with the immune response traits used for selection. The hybridization with the MHC class IV probe displayed 26 scorable bands, of which 18 were polymorphic. In most instances, the differences between the lines were likely caused by the influence of genetic factors other than selection for multitrait immunocompetence. Only one band displayed a consistency in difference between selection directions in both replicates and no frequency difference between replicates. This band was almost completely absent in both H sublines, but at a frequency of about 50% in both L sublines. The general results of this study did not reveal major differences in band frequencies that indicate a close association of MHC class II and MHC class IV polymorphic markers to the divergent selection for multitrait immune response. Although the MHC makes a crucial contribution in immune response, it may have been difficult to detect single-gene associations with the selection criteria of this study, because of the myriad of components contributing to general immune responses measured in vivo.
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Poultry Science Association Inc.
Weigend, S. and Lamont, Susan J., "Analysis of MHC class II and class IV restriction fragment length polymorphism in chicken lines divergently selected for multitrait immune response" (1999). Animal Science Publications. 824.