Low genetic diversity of MHC genes in Malayan tapir

Malayan tapir comes from family Tapiridae and presently facing high risk of extinction due to multiple factors including habitat loss and human disturbance. Currently, it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, which calls for more serious conservation efforts for this mammal. This preliminary study has investigated the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes which responsible for pathogen detection and adaptive immune system in vertebrate. Only five exon 2 and four exon 3 of class I MHC gene sequences, alongside two DRA, three DRB, two DQA and three DQB sequences of class II MHC were detected in Malayan tapirs indicate a low diversity of MHC genes. The low population numbers increase concerns for inbreeding events and therefore might result in compromised genetic variation, particularly at the regions responsible for immune response i.e., MHC gene. Thus, we should manage Malayan tapir populations should be managed both in captivity and in the wild to have a high variable MHC through artificial mate selection and translocation or reintroduction of dissimilar MHC to ensure the sustainability of population in the wild.

Read the full article, published by Zoological Studies, here

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