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J Hum Genet. 2001;46(3):115-25.

Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms in Thailand.

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Department of Clinical Microscopy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.


Nucleotide sequences of the D-loop region of human mitochondrial DNA from six small ethnic groups of Thailand i.e., Hill tribes (Lisu and Mussur), Phuthai, Lao Song, Chong, and aboriginal Sakai, were analyzed. The sequences were compared with those of native Thai populations from two provinces, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen. Based on a comparison of the 563-bp sequences in 215 Thai individuals, 137 different sequence types were observed. Of these, 124 were unique to their respective populations, whereas 13 were shared between two to five populations. The intergenic COII/tRNALys 9-bp deletion was observed in every Thai population examined, except for the Sakai, with varying frequencies ranging from 18% to 40%. The D-loop sequences variation, and phylogenetic analysis, suggested that the 9-bp deletion had occurred in a very ancient ancestry of Southeast Asians, although multiple origins of the deletion cannot be ruled out. Genetic distances, based on net nucleotide diversities, between populations revealed that the Sakai were distantly related to the other Thai populations, while the Lao Song and Chong were closely related to each other. Close genetic affinities were also observed among the Hill tribes, Phuthai, and native northeast Thai (Khon Kaen), indicating that they may share some degree of the common ancestral maternal lineages.

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