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Genes Nutr. 2014 Sep;9(5):421. doi: 10.1007/s12263-014-0421-7. Epub 2014 Aug 9.

Geographical and ethnic distribution of single nucleotide polymorphisms within genes of the folate/homocysteine pathway metabolism.

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1
Nutrition and Health Research, Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, aristea.binia@rdls.nestle.com.

Abstract

High levels of plasma homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of many health conditions influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. The objective of this study was to provide the geographical distribution of folate pathway genetic polymorphisms in Mexico and the comparison with the reported frequencies in different continental populations. This study included the analysis of the genotypic frequencies of eight polymorphisms in genes of the folate/homocysteine metabolic pathway in 1,350 Mestizo and Amerindian subjects from different regions in Mexico and 836 individuals from European, African and Asian populations of the 1,000 Genomes Project. In Mexican Mestizo and Amerindian populations, the MTHFR C677T risk genotype (TT) was highly prevalent (frequency: 25 and 57 %, respectively). In Mestizos, the frequency showed clear regional variation related to ancestry; the Guerrero subpopulation with the highest Amerindian contribution had the highest TT frequency (33 %). The MTHFD1 G1958A AA risk genotype was also enriched in Mexican Mestizos and Amerindians (frequency: 34 and 58 %, respectively), whereas in African and Asian ancestry populations the frequency for AA was low (~4 %). All together risk genotypes showed regional differences, and Sonora had significantly different genetic frequencies compared with the other regions (P value <0.05). Our study illustrates differential geographical distribution of the risk variants in the folate/homocysteine metabolic pathway relative to ethnic background. This work supports that certain areas of the world have increased needs for folic acid and vitamin B supplementation, and this information needs to be considered in public health guidelines and eventually policies.

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