Last updated on 09/22/2016
Gasper J, Shiina T, Inoko H, Edwards SV. Songbird genomics: analysis of 45-kb upstream of a polymorphic Mhc class II gene in Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Genomics [Internet]. 2001;75 :26-34.
Here we present the sequence of a 45 kb cosmid containing a previously characterized poly-morphic Mhc class II B gene (Agph-DAB1) from the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). We compared it with a previously sequenced cosmid from this species, revealing two regions of 7.5 kb and 13.0 kb that averaged greater than 97% similarity to each another, indicating a very recent shared duplication. We found 12 retroelements, including two chicken repeat 1 (CR1) elements, constituting 6.4% of the sequence and indicating a lower frequency of retroelements than that found in mammalian genomic DNA. Agph-DAB3, a new class II B gene discovered in the cosmid, showed a low rate of polymorphism and may be functional. In addi-tion, we found a Mhc class II B gene fragment and three genes likely to be functional (encod-ing activin receptor type II, a zinc finger, and a putativeγ-filamin). Phylogenetic analysis of exon 2 alleles of all three known blackbird Mhc genes indicated strong clustering of alleles by locus, implying that large amounts of interlocus gene conversion have not occurred since these genes have been diverging. Despite this, interspecific comparisons indicate that all three black-bird Mhc genes diverged from one another less than 35 million years ago and are subject to con-certed evolution in the long term. Comparison of blackbird and chicken Mhc promoter regions revealed songbird promoter elements for the first time. The high gene density of this cosmid confirms similar findings for the chicken Mhc, but the segment duplications and diversity of retroelements resembles mammalian sequences.