Microsatellites andAluelements from the human MHC in Valencia (Spain): analysis of genetic relationships and linkage disequilibrium

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Two different sets of noncoding markers (microsatellites and Alu elements) from the human chromosome six were analysed in 106 individuals from Valencia (Spain), with the aim of exploring the effect of evolutionary forces on the genetic variability of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and assessing the potential usefulness of these genetic loci in phylogenetic studies. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) analyses revealed statistically significant associations among markers located in the MHC class I region, and also between the microsatellite D6S2792 and several genetic loci from MHC class I, II and III regions. Results of the Ewens-Watterson test indicated that only D6S2792 showed significant departure from selective neutrality. Despite the paucity of haplotype data in the literature, results of the phylogenetic analyses at world scale (Alu elements) showed that the genetic relationships of Valencia were mainly determined by the ethnic ancestry of the populations considered, whereas at European scale (microsatellites) population affinities were strongly influenced by geography. Our findings suggest that noncoding markers from the MHC such as Alu and microsatellite loci might have a potential value as lineage (ancestry) markers in investigations into evolutionary, medical and forensic perspectives.

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