Study of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci has gained great popularity in recent years, partly due to their function in protecting vertebrates from infections. This is of particular interest in amphibians on account of major threats many species face from emergent diseases such as chytridiomycosis. In this study we compare levels of diversity in an expressed MHC class II locus with neutral genetic diversity at microsatellite loci in natterjack toad (Bufo (Epidalea) calamita) populations across the whole of the species’ biogeographical range. Variation at both classes of loci was high in the glacial refugium areas (REF) and much lower in postglacial expansion areas (PGE), especially in range edge populations. Although there was clear evidence that the MHC locus was influenced by positive selection in the past, congruence with the neutral markers suggested that historical demographic events were the main force shaping MHC variation in the PGE area. Both neutral and adaptive genetic variation declined with distance from glacial refugia. Nevertheless, there were also some indications from differential isolation by distance and allele abundance patterns that weak effects of selection have been superimposed on the main drift effect in the PGE zone.
|Publication status||Published - 17 Jun 2014|
Bibliographical note© 2014 Zeisset, Beebee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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- School of Applied Sciences - Senior Lecturer
- Ecology, Conservation and Zoonosis Research and Enterprise Group