A population genetic study of six VNTR loci in three ethnically defined populations

Ranjan Deka, Ranajit Chakraborty, Robert E. Ferrell

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To investigate the population genetic characteristics of VNTR polymorphisms in human populations, we have studied the allele frequency distribution of six VNTR loci (D1S57, RB1, D1S77, D1S61, α-globin 5′HVR, D1S76) in three well-defined populations (Kachari of Northeast India; Dogrib Indian of Canada; and New Guinea Highlander of Papua New Guinea). Even though the number of alleles sampled is limited, 48 to 92 alleles per locus per population, significant variation is noticed in the number of alleles per locus for all the populations. Using alternate summary measures, we have observed that genotype distributions at the six VNTR loci apparently conform to their respective Hardy-Weinberg predictions. Multilocus genotype profiles of the individuals in each of the three populations suggest that the VNTR alleles are independently segregating with the exception of the two linked loci D1S76 and D1S77. Lack of fit of all VNTR loci to one particular model of mutational change, either the Infinite Allele Model or the Stepwise Mutation Model, suggests more than one mechanism for production of new VNTR alleles. This study also indicates that increased heterozygosity at VNTR loci in comparison to protein and blood group loci may lead to more accurate estimates of genetic distance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1991


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