Jacek Radwan, Magdalena Migalska and Alvaro Sebastian, in collaboration with colleagues from Institute of Nature Conservation PASand Lund University, in a paper published in Molecular Ecology, documented selection acting on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus). MHC proteins are crucial in pathogen recognition, it is still poorly under-stood how pathogen-mediated selection promotes and maintains MHC diversity, and especially so in host species with highly duplicated MHC genes, such as sedge warblers. Using long term data collected by group of Tadeusz Zając PAS and high throughput sequencing of MHC genes, researchers showed that susceptibility to avian malaria drive the temporal fluctuations of the MHC class I supertypes. Furthermore, individuals with a large number of different supertypes in their genomes had higher resistance to avian malaria, which may explain the maintenance of the extremely high number of MHC class I gene copies in sedge warblers, and possibly also in other passerines.

Link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mec.14592