Screening of Mhc variation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): a comparison of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequencing


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We compared three different molecular methods currently used for screening of Mhc variation in population studies of Atlantic salmon. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the entire class II gene detected 22 haplotypes. Seventeen exon 2 sequences were obtained from individuals carrying the 22 haplotypes, two of which had not been detected by RFLP. The six alleles (27%) detected by RFLP and not by exon 2 sequencing probably resulted from sequence variation outside exon 2. Within exon 2, RFLP differentiated 88% of the sequences. Alternatively, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) performed under two run conditions detected 94% of the sequence variation. Both RFLP using different probes, and the two PCR-based methods using three different primer pairs, suggest that there is only a single Mhc class II B gene in the Baltic populations of Atlantic salmon.