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Hum Immunol. 2001 Apr;62(4):378-90.

HLA diversity, differentiation, and haplotype evolution in Mesoamerican Natives.

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Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Genetic variation of the Human Leukocyte Antigen region (HLA) in three Amerindian populations from the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the Zapotec, Mixtec and the Mixe is examined. Individuals were typed using PCR-SSOP for four class II loci (DRB1, DQA1, DQB1, DPB1) and three class I loci (HLA-A, -B, and -C). Based on known HLA distributions, European admixture ranged from 1% to 10%. Individuals with European alleles were excluded from subsequent analysis. New alleles were revealed at each of the class I loci. In general, genotype frequencies were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, although some deviations were detected. Allele frequency distributions at the DRB1, DQA1, DQB1 and HLA-A loci in all populations were more even than expected under neutrality, supporting a model of balancing selection at these loci. A history of directional selection for DPB1 in all three populations was indicated, as homozygosity values were significantly above expected values. Allele frequency distributions at HLA-B and HLA-C did not differ significantly from neutrality expectations. The data also provide evidence from linkage disequilibrium that strong haplotypic associations are present across the entire HLA region in each of the populations. Significant overall linkage disequilibrium exists between all pairs of loci typed in these populations, except those which include the DPB1 locus. These associations exist despite the fact that the recombination fraction between HLA-A, in the class I region, and DQB1, in the class II region, may exceed 0.02. One explanation is that selective pressures are maintaining the relationships between particular alleles at these loci in these populations. These relationships are maintained in general across the entire HLA region in the Oaxacan Amerindians, with the exception of DPB1.

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