The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) plays a role in immune response. Among other activities, the bovine MHC genes (BoLA) trigger immune responses, including the activation of antibody-producing B-cells. In this study, White Fulani (n = 24), Red Bororo (n = 5) and Holstein-White × Fulani-cross (n = 11) cattle from Nigeria, and New Zealand Holstein-Friesian × Jersey-cross (n = 40) cattle were used to investigate variability in exon 2 of BoLA-DQA1. Ten alleles were identified using a PCR-Single Strand Conformation Polymorphism (SSCP) approach and their nucleotide sequences confirmed by DNA sequencing. A total of 12.60 % of all nucleotide positions analysed were revealed to be variable and two novel BoLA-DQA1 alleles are reported here for the first time.