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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Feb;66(2):692-7.

Age estimate of the N370S mutation causing Gaucher disease in Ashkenazi Jews and European populations: A reappraisal of haplotype data.

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Human Biology and Genetics Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Largo A. Gemelli 1, I-20123 Milan, Italy.


The N370S mutation at the GBA locus on human chromosome 1q21, which causes Gaucher disease (GD), has a high frequency in the Ashkenazim and is the second-most-widespread GD mutation in the European non-Jewish population. A common ancient origin for the N370S mutation in the Ashkenazi Jewish and Spanish populations has been proposed on the basis of both a similar haplotype for associated markers and an age estimate that suggests that this mutation appeared several thousand years ago. However, a reappraisal of haplotype data, using the Risch formula properly along with a Luria-Delbrück setting of the genetic clock, allows identification of the likely origin of the N370S mutation in Ashkenazi Jews between the 11th and 13th centuries. This result is consistent with the estimated ages of other mutations that are frequent among Ashkenazim, with the exception of type II (Glu117Stop) factor XI deficiency, which is deemed to be >3000 years old, predating the separation of the Ashkenazi and Iraqi Jews. The present finding supports the hypothesis of a more recent origin for the N370S mutation and is consistent with both a founder chromosome transfer from Ashkenazim who assimilated in some European populations and a non-Jewish origin of the European N370S-bearing chromosomes.

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