Evidence for selection of toll-like receptors in Atlantic killifish Fundulus heteroclitus.
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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a multigene family whose function is critical to the innate immune system in invertebrates and vertebrates. Variation within TLR gene regions may be a reflection of environment and pathogen co-evolution. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the level of genomic variation at TLR 5, 9, and 21 of Atlantic killifish Fundulus heteroclitus. Atlantic killifish have been studied extensively because of their ability to survive in variable environments that may be breeding grounds for varying populations of pathogens. The study looked at four populations of killifish from northern Maine. Sites included one copper contaminated locale and three other presumably uncontaminated environments. Average heterozygosity was calculated for all individuals at the gene regions. The results suggested that little variation was evident in the exon region of TLR 5. However, more variation was seen at the exon regions of TLR 9 and 21, as well as, the 5'UTR of TLR 9. Variation amongst the four populations was also detected. These results suggest that variation does exist at TLR 5, 9, and 21, however further studies need to be completed in order to gauge the implications of this variation.
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