Recent evidence from both population data and DNA sequence analyses indicates that the unprecedented genetic diversity found at MHC loci is selectively maintained in contemporary natural populations, although the strength and nature of this selection are currently unclear. Due to the critical role played by MHC molecules in immune recognition, it is generally assumed that some form of parasite-driven selection is operating. However, the general failure to implicate MHC in the susceptibility to specific infectious diseases has been troubling, and may indicate that selection is too weak to detect directly. Alternatively, strong selection can be reconciled by a variety of factors including the amplification of minor (disease-based) vigor differences into large fitness differences by intraspecific competition, or non-disease-based selection such as mating preferences and selective abortion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics