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Genetics of the immune response: identifying immune variation within the MHC and throughout the genome


Dr Daniel E. Geraghty
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Ave. N. D4-100
Seattle, WA 98109–1024


Summary: With the advent of modern genomic sequencing technology the ability to obtain new sequence data and to acquire allelic polymorphism data from a broad range of samples has become routine. In this regard, our investigations have started with the most polymorphic of genetic regions fundamental to the immune response in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Starting with the completed human MHC genomic sequence, we have developed a resource of methods and information that provide ready access to a large portion of human and nonhuman primate MHCs. This resource consists of a set of primer pairs or amplicons that can be used to isolate about 15% of the 4.0 Mb MHC. Essentially similar studies are now being carried out on a set of immune response loci to broaden the usefulness of the data and tools developed. A panel of 100 genes involved in the immune response have been targeted for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery efforts that will analyze 120 Mb of sequence data for the presence of immune-related SNPs. The SNP data provided from the MHC and from the immune response panel has been adapted for use in studies of evolution, MHC disease associations, and clinical transplantation.