Relationship between heterozygosity and genetic distance in the three major races of man

Ranajit Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In pairwise comparisons of gene frequency data from the three major races of man, the single locus measures of the heterozygosity within and the genetic distance between races are shown to be strongly correlated across the loci coding for red cell proteins and enzymes. The intercept of the regression line of genetic distance on heterozygosity in protein enzyme loci is statistically insignificant. These findings suggest that the genetic variability at the enzyme and protein loci in man is probably maintained by a balance of mutation and random genetic drift. At the blood group loci, however, the observed relationship between genetic distance and heterozygosity does not follow the expectation of the neutral mutation hypothesis. These observations are discussed in terms of the changes in probability of identical monomorphism in two populations during the process of gene differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1984


  • Genetic distance
  • Heterozygosity
  • Human racial variation
  • Neutral mutation theory


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