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Primers for the amplification of major histocompatibility complex class I and II loci in the recovering red-crowned parakeet

Knafler, Gabrielle J., Jamieson, Ian G.
Conservation genetics resources 2014 v.6 no.1 pp. 37-39
Beak and feather disease virus, Psittaciformes, captive animals, emerging diseases, exons, immunity, loci, major genes, major histocompatibility complex, parakeets, parrots, risk, trade, New Zealand
Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are widely used to investigate evolutionary processes as they are essential for the adaptive immune response of vertebrates. The characterization of MHC loci, although generally abundant within birds, is mostly lacking in the Psittaciformes (the parrots). Because they are among the most threatened groups of birds and are regularly kept in captivity, examining the MHC in parrot populations would be helpful as the movement of birds associated with conservation efforts (e.g. translocations) and the pet trade may increase the risk of spreading disease. Here, we provide designed primers for the amplification of MHC class Iα exon 3 and class IIβ exon 2 loci in New Zealand’s threatened red-crowned parakeet, Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae. Our novel primers facilitate the study of MHC diversity in relation to emerging disease agents, such as the beak and feather disease virus which has been recently detected in wild parrot populations.