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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jan 22;99(2):862-7.

Evidence for positive selection and population structure at the human MAO-A gene.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and the Crown Human Genome Center, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


We report the analysis of human nucleotide diversity at a genetic locus known to be involved in a behavioral phenotype, the monoamine oxidase A gene. Sequencing of five regions totaling 18.8 kb and spanning 90 kb of the monoamine oxidase A gene was carried out in 56 male individuals from seven different ethnogeographic groups. We uncovered 41 segregating sites, which formed 46 distinct haplotypes. A permutation test detected substantial population structure in these samples. Consistent with differentiation between populations, linkage disequilibrium is higher than expected under panmixia, with no evidence of a decay with distance. The extent of linkage disequilibrium is not typical of nuclear loci and suggests that the underlying population structure may have been accentuated by a selective sweep that fixed different haplotypes in different populations, or by local adaptation. In support of this suggestion, we find both a reduction in levels of diversity (as measured by a Hudson-Kreitman-Aguade test with the DMD44 locus) and an excess of high frequency-derived variants, as expected after a recent episode of positive selection.

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