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Genetics. Aug 2000; 155(4): 1855–1864.
PMCID: PMC1461203

Contrasting evolutionary histories of two introns of the duchenne muscular dystrophy gene, Dmd, in humans.

Abstract

The Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Dmd) locus lies in a region of the X chromosome that experiences a high rate of recombination and is thus expected to be relatively unaffected by the effects of selection on nearby genes. To provide a picture of nucleotide variability at a high-recombination locus in humans, we sequenced 5. 4 kb from two introns of Dmd in a worldwide sample of 41 alleles from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. These same regions were also sequenced in one common chimpanzee and one orangutan. Dramatically different patterns of genetic variation were observed at these two introns, which are separated by >500 kb of DNA. Nucleotide diversity at intron 44 pi = 0.141% was more than four times higher than nucleotide diversity at intron 7 pi = 0.034% despite similar levels of divergence for these two regions. Intron 7 exhibited significant linkage disequilibrium extending over 10 kb and also showed a significant excess of rare polymorphisms. In contrast, intron 44 exhibited little linkage disequilibrium and no skew in the frequency distribution of segregating sites. Intron 7 was much more variable in Africa than in other continents, while intron 44 displayed similar levels of variability in different geographic regions. Comparison of intraspecific polymorphism to interspecific divergence using the HKA test revealed a significant reduction in variability at intron 7 relative to intron 44, and this effect was most pronounced in the non-African samples. These results are best explained by positive directional selection acting at or near intron 7 and demonstrate that even genes in regions of high recombination may be influenced by selection at linked sites.

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Selected References

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