Towards building an ‘immunogenetic map’ of red deer populations across Scotland

Post date: 
4 Mar 2019 - 14:15
Member News

Cambridge Conservation Forum and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative are greatly thanked for their generosity to allow me to use the previously CCF’s allocated desks at the David Attenborough Building to write a recently published scientific paper. The paper is entitled ‘First assessment of MHC diversity in wild Scottish red deer populations’ and has been published at the European Journal of Wildlife Research. In this paper, four red deer populations of the Scottish Highlands were genotyped for the most variable region in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC DRB exon 2) and 16 microsatellite loci. MHC variability was found to be high, with 25 alleles identified in a relatively small geographical area. From these 25 alleles, 21 have not yet been reported in any other deer study. Population structure estimated with microsatellite data confirmed the Great Glen as a gene flow barrier between populations located at either side of this landscape feature. However, population structure estimated with MHC data did not agree with the geographical location of the populations indicating that patterns of MHC variation in the study area are not mainly influenced by gene flow. Therefore, in a wildlife disease context, management strategies would need to consider the immunogenetic variability patterns across the landscape and not only the delimitation of populations by landscape features. This study represents the initial platform to work towards building an ‘immunogenetic map’ of red deer populations across Scotland.

Details of the paper:

Pérez-Espona S., Goodall-Copestake W.P., Savirina A., Bobovikova J., Molina-Rubio C., Pérez-Barbería F.J. (2019). First assessment of MHC diversity in wild Scottish red deer populations. European Journal of Wildlife Research 65:22.

People interested in a copy of the paper can email me at: