Based on sequences of two cosmid clones from Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica, Coja), we confirmed that the syntenic cluster, GNB2L1~BTN1~BTN2, is located in the quail TRIM subregion of the quail major histocompatibility complex (MHC Coja) region. These cosmids also included four CjBG loci and one CjLEC locus; therefore, the quail TRIM subregion was thought to be adjacent to the BG/LEC subregion. We then identified three polymorphic markers - CjHEP21, CjTRIM39.2 and CjBTN2 - in the TRIM subregion that may be useful for the functional analysis of the MHC-Coja region. We examined MHC-Coja sequences from 321 individual quails sampled from 11 inbred strains, and we found eight alleles for each of the three genes - CjHEP21, CjTRIM39.2 and CjBTN2. These polymorphisms represent the first avian DNA markers in the TRIM subregion. Additionally, we discovered a quail-specific VNTR (variable number of long tandem repeats, 133-137 bp) in intron 7 of CjBTN2. We identified 25 haplotypes in the sample of 321 quail; these haplotypes comprised combinations of all 24 alleles of the three polymorphic genes. We suggest that there are two recombination hotspots, one between each pair of adjacent loci. All strains, except AMRP, contained multiple haplotypes; the AMRP strain contained a single, apparently fixed haplotype.
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