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Hum Biol. 1994 Oct;66(5):805-22.

Genetic characterization of American and Western Samoans.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261.


The Samoan islands were politically separated into American Samoa and Western Samoa in the early 1900s. Economic modernization is far more extensive in American Samoa. However, the Samoan archipelago has maintained a remarkable degree of sociocultural homogeneity, including intermarriage. The sociocultural exchanges presumably led to genetic homogeneity between the two Samoas. Detailed genetic comparisons and characterizations of Samoans are scanty, however. As part of a multidisciplinary study of modernization and cardiovascular risk factors in adults, we analyzed nine hypervariable nuclear DNA (HVR) and four serum protein polymorphisms in the two Samoan groups. The average heterozygosities at both DNA and serum protein loci are comparable in the two groups. As expected, the HVR loci reveal a high degree of variability (heterozygosity 30-87%) compared with the serum protein loci (heterozygosity 1-52%). A large proportion of alleles at the HVR loci, ranging from 50% to 100%, are shared between American and Western Samoa. With the exceptions of the D1S80 locus in American Samoa and the D13S118 locus in Western Samoa, the genotype distributions at all loci conform to their respective Hardy-Weinberg expectations. Sporadic occurrence of the F13B*2 allele at the F13B locus in Samoans indicates a low level of European admixture because this allele is unique to Europeans. The calculated zero values of kinship coefficients and standard genetic distances indicate minimal population differentiation between the two Samoan groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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