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Am J Hum Genet. Jul 1984; 36(4): 836–857.
PMCID: PMC1684477

Genetic distances between the Utah Mormons and related populations.


Gene frequency data, consisting of six red cell antigen loci, nine electrophoretic systems, and HLA-A and -B are reported for the Utah Mormon population. These are compared statistically to gene frequencies from at U.S. population, 13 European populations, and seven populations from three religious isolates. The Mormon gene frequencies are similar to those of their northern European ancestors. This is explained by the large founding size of the Mormon population and high rates of gene flow. In contrast, the religious isolates (Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites) show marked divergence from their ancestral populations and each other, due to isolation and random genetic drift. The HLA loci and electrophoretic loci presented here yield sets of genetic distances that are highly correlated (r = .734) and that both correspond closely to the actual geographic distances among the European populations. The genetic distances based on red cell antigen loci correspond less closely to the geographic distances and exhibit lower correlations with both the HLA and electrophoretic loci (r = .524 and r = .565, respectively).

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