Salmonid fishes are among the few animal taxa with a probable recent tetraploid ancestor. The present study is the first to compare large (>100 kb) duplicated genomic sequence fragments in such species. Two contiguous stretches with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes were detected in a rainbow trout BAC library, mapped and sequenced. The MHC class I duplicated regions, mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), were shown to be located on different metaphase chromosomes, Chr 14 and 18. Gene organization in both duplications is similar to that in other fishes, in that the class I loci are tightly linked with the PSMB8, PSMB9, PSMB10 and ABCB3 genes. Whereas one region, Onmy-IA, has a classical MHC class I locus (UBA), Onmy-IB encodes only non-classical class Ib proteins. The nucleotide diversity between the Onmy-IA and Onmy-IB noncoding regions is about 14%. This suggests that the MHC class I duplication event has occurred about 60 mya close to the time of an hypothesized ancestral tetraploid event. The present article is the first convincing report on the co-existence of two closely related MHC class I core regions on two different chromosomes. The interchromosomal duplication and the homology levels are supportive of the tetraploid model.
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