The t-haplotype, a variant of the proximal part of the mouse chromosome 17, is composed of at least four inversions and is inherited as a single genetic unit. The haplotype causes embryonic mortality or male sterility when homozygous. Genes within the complex are responsible for distortion of Mendelian transmission ratio in males. Thus, the t-haplotype in heterozygous males is transferred to over 95% of the progeny. We examined the dynamic and behavior of the t-haplotype in wild populations of the house mouse in Israel. The Israeli populations show high frequency (15%-20%) of both partial and complete t-carrying mice, supporting the suggestion that the t-complex evolved in the M. domesticus line in the Israeli region. In one population that had the highest frequency of t-carrying individuals, we compared the level of gene diversity between t-carrying and normal mice in the marker's loci: H-2 locus of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on the t-haplotype of chromosome 17, three microsatellites on other chromosomes, and the mitochondrial D-loop. Genetic variability was high in all tested loci in both t and (+) mice. All t mice carried the same chromosome and showed the same H-2 haplotype. While t-carrying mice showed significant H-2 heterozygotes access, (+) mice expressed significant H-2 heterozygote deficiency. There were no differences in the level of gene diversity between t and (+) mice in the other loci. Heterozygosity level at the MHC may be an additional factor in the selective forces balancing the t-haplotype polymorphism.
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