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Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Genes: Polymorphism

  1. Diogo Meyer1,
  2. Steven J Mack2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0006133.pub2



How to Cite

Meyer, D. and Mack, S. J. 2008. Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Genes: Polymorphism. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Universidade de São Paulo, Departmento de Genética e Evolução, Brazil

  2. 2

    Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland, Oakland, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2008


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contains genes that code for glycoproteins that play key roles in the immune response. Several features of MHC gene polymorphism indicate that diversifying natural selection has acted upon these genes. Different models of diversifying selection may explain the observed variation.


  • major histocompatibility complex;
  • human leukocyte antigen;
  • polymorphism;
  • balancing selection