Home / Science & Research / Supported Projects Past and Present / Genetic diversity in the Major Histocompatibility Complex Genetic diversity in the Major Histocompatibility Complex in Scottish red deerDr Silvia Pérez-Espona, Anglia Ruskin University Photo by: Diana ParkhouseFIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE STUDY Main applicant/Principal Investigator: Dr Sílvia Pérez-Espona (Anglia Ruskin University)Collaborators: Dr Javier Pérez-Barbería (The James Hutton Institute) This study aims to assess genetic diversity in the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in forest and open hill populations of Scottish red deer (Cervus elaphus). The proposed project consisted on genotyping the MHC class II DRB3 exon 2 a total of 48 individuals from two forest (Tarlogie, Inshriach) and two open hill (Strathconon, Abernethy) Scottish red deer populations; 12 individuals from each population (6 stags, 6 hinds). For each individual a total of 48 clones, resulting from the amplification and cloning of the MHC class II DRB3 exon 2, were to be sequenced. This experiment would result in a total of 2,304 MHC sequences (48 sequences per individual) that will allow establishing the minimum number of clones per individual that need to be screened to capture the complete MHC allelic diversity in an individual red deer.Progress:Laboratory analysisThe project is progressing satisfactorily with the 24 red deer stags sampled from the four selected populations already analysed (MHC class II DRB3 amplified, cloned and sequenced). For the 24 red deer hinds, the MHC class II DRB3 has already been amplified, all PCR products cloned and currently preparing the samples to be sequenced. The completion of the sequencing is expected to be by the end of February/beginning of March 2015.Preliminary resultsResults from the sequencing of the 24 red deer stags has revealed that genetic diversity at the MHC is high, with the highest number of alleles ever discovered in an ungulate (some individuals presented > 30 alleles). This reflects the importance of conducting thorough analyses, such as the one conducted here, if we are to accurately assess genetic diversity at the MHC. Genetic diversity was high in both forest and open hill populations. Although more detailed data analyses need to be conducted when the hind data is available, the data indicates that some set of alleles are habitat-specific (i.e. only found in either forest or open hill).Plan of action for year 2Finalise the sequencing of MHC alleles of 24 red deer hinds (end of February/March 2015).Data analyses of MHC data (April 2015).Publication of MHC data (summer 2015).Article in Deer Magazine (autumn 2015) FURTHER READING BDS Response to the Defra Consultation on Proposed Deer Management Strategy The British Deer Society (BDS) has reviewed in detail the consultation on proposed deer management published by Defra on the 4th of August 2022. Whilst we welcome the consultation in general terms, and in particular the intent to develop a wider market for venison, we have serious concerns about some of the proposals. Firearms and Mental Health – Awareness and Support Leaflet The Scottish Firearms Licensing Practitioners Group has released a leaflet providing information on mental health support for firearms license holders. Publication of Revised Wild Game Guidance The revised Wild Game Guidance (WGG) has been published on 25th July 2022. Revision of the content post-consultation (working in collaboration with FSA England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Food Standards Scotland), has resulted in a robust review on the WGG for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.