Salamander larvae (Ambystoma texanum)

Project Description

David Bos has characterized major histocompatibility complex (MHC) variation in a population of wild tiger salamanders. Despite MHC monomorphism in immunodeficient axolotls (Laurens et al. 2001, Eur J Immun 31:506), David found plenty of variation in congeneric tiger salamanders (Bos and DeWoody 2005; Bos et al. 2008). Evidence from a variety of other vertebrates suggests this variation may be maintained by both natural selection and sexual selection (i.e., mate choice).  Similarly, Nick Marra has studied the immunogenetics of heteromyid rodents and in so doing has identified a number of genes that might be active targets of selection (Marra and DeWoody 2014).  Kendra Abts is identifying MHC genes in koala to benefit their captive breeding program.


Kendra Abts

David Bos

Nick Marra

J. Andrew DeWoody


Bos D.H. & DeWoody J.A. (2005) Molecular characterization of major histocompatibility complex class II alleles in wild tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). Immunogenetics 57, 775-781.

Bos D.H., Gopurenko D., Williams R.N. & DeWoody J.A. (2008) Inferring population history and demography using microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Evolution 62:1458-1468.

Marra N.J. & DeWoody J.A. (2014) Transcriptomic characterization of the immunogenetic repertoires of heteromyid rodents. BMC Genomics 15:929 | DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-15-929

Abts K.C., Ivy J. & DeWoody J.A. (2015) Immunomics of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Immunogenetics, in press.

Tracy K.E., Kiemnec-Tyburczy K.M., DeWoody J.A., Parra-Olea G. & Zamudio K.R. (2015) Positive selection drives the evolution of a major histocompatibility complex gene in an endangered Mexican salamander species complex. Immunogenetics, in press.