To determine the distribution of beta-2 microglobulin (B2m) alleles in wild mice we have typed mice derived from natural populations in Europe, North Africa, South America, and East Asia. Mus musculus domesticus mice from Germany, France, Italy, and Peru were all B2maas were most from the United Kingdom. M.m. musculus mice from Denmark and Czechoslovakia, several stocks of M.m. molossinus from Japan, and M.m. castaneus from China, Thailand, and the Philippines were of B2mbtype. This is consistent with the notion that C57BL/6 may have obtained some of its genes, including B2m, from Eastern mice. A BgII restriction site characteristic of B2mbwas also found in mice from Czechoslovakia and Japan, confirming that B2mbis a naturally occurring allele of B2m. A new type of β2m (β2mw1) was found in four stocks of M. spretus from Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. This molecule differs in apparent size and charge from the a and b types. β2mw2 was found together with β2 ma in one stock of M.m. domesticus (brevirostris) from Morocco. β2mw3 and β2mw4 were found in a few M. m. bactrianus from Pakistan. In all cases tested, these new β2m molecules associate with class I histocompatibility antigens.
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