Do infectious diseases drive MHC diversity?

Microbes Infect. 2000 Sep;2(11):1335-41. doi: 10.1016/s1286-4579(00)01287-9.


The primary function of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is to allow the immune system to identify infectious pathogens and eliminate them. Infectious diseases are now thought to be the main selection force that drives and maintains the extraordinary diversity of the MHC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Genes, MHC Class I
  • Genes, MHC Class II
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic