Two genetically unlinked gene clusters currently define the turkey major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Previous studies identified turkey bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones hypothesized as orthologs of the MHC-B and MHC-Y regions of the chicken. Physical mapping assigned these clones to the same microchromosome (MGA18) and sequencing of the MHC-B BAC found near synteny with a portion of the chicken B-locus. This study examines the sequence of the second MHC BAC clone that was hypothesized, based on subclone sequences, to be orthologous to the MHC-Y. Sequencing of this clone identified a class I locus and orthologs of additional genes found in the mammalian class III region. Approximately 50% of the BAC insert is comprised of sequence corresponding to the centromeric repeat, MGASat2. This turkey MHC BAC sequence is unique from sequences assigned to the MHC-Y in the chicken. Based on sequence comparisons, the class I gene appears to be a nonfunctional pseudogene. The class III genes (BAT1, BAT3, STK19, and a G4-like locus) represent the second class III gene cluster identified in the galliform genome. This cluster appears to be of ancient origin and provides insight into the evolution of the avian MHC.
- Class III
- Repetitive DNA