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Hum Biol. 2008 Feb;80(1):73-81.

Variation of DAT1 VNTR alleles and genotypes among old ethnic groups in Mesopotamia to the Oxus region.

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Medical Genetic Department, National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Tehran, Iran.


Variation of a VNTR in the DAT1 gene in seven ethnic groups of the Middle East was used to infer the history and affinities of these groups. The populations consisted of Assyrian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Armenian, Turkmen, and Arab peoples of Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait. Three hundred forty subjects from these seven ethnic groups were screened for DAT1. DAT1 VNTR genotyping showed 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 alleles in the samples. Analysis of these data revealed differentiation and relationship among the populations. In this region, which covers an area of 2-2.5 million km2, the influence of geography and especially of linguistic characteristics has had potentially major effects on differentiation. Religion also has played a major role in imposing restrictions on some ethnic groups, who as a consequence have maintained their community. Overall, these ethnic groups showed greater heterogeneity compared to other populations.

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