U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Ethnic Related Selection for an ADH Class I Variant within East Asia

NCJ Number
PLoS ONE Volume: 3 Issue: 4 Dated: 2008 Pages: e1881
H. Li; S. Gu; X. Cai; W. C. Speed; A. J. Pakstis; E. I. Golub; J. R. Kidd; K. K. Kidd
Date Published
1 page

This article reports new data on 30 SNPs in the ADH7 and Class I ADH region in samples of 24 populations from China and Laos.


The alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) are widely studied enzymes and the evolution of the mammalian gene cluster encoding these enzymes is also well studied. Previous studies have shown that the ADH1B*47His allele at one of the seven genes in humans is associated with a decrease in the risk of alcoholism, and the core molecular region with this allele has been selected for in some East Asian populations. Since the frequency of ADH1B*47His is highest in East Asia and low in most of the rest of the world, the current study conducted a more detailed investigation in this geographic region. The current article reports new data on 30 SNPs in the ADH7 and Class I ADH region in samples of 24 populations from China and Laos. These populations cover a wide geographic region and diverse ethnicities. Combined with the authors’ previously published East Asian data for these SNPs in eight populations, the authors have typed populations from all of the six major linguistic phyla (Altaic including Korean-Japanese and inland Altaic, Sino-Tibetan, Hmong-Mien, Austro-Asiatic, Daic, and Austronesian). The ADH1B genotyping data are strongly related to ethnicity. Only some eastern ethnic phyla or subphyla (Korean-Japanese, Han Chinese, Hmong-Mien, Daic, and Austronesian) have a high frequency of ADH1B*47His. ADH1B haplotype data clustered the populations into linguistic subphyla and divided the subphyla into eastern and western parts. In the Hmong-Mien and Altaic populations, the extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH) and relative EHH (REHH) tests for the ADH1B core were consistent with selection for the haplotype with derived SNP alleles. In the other ethnic phyla, the core showed only a weak signal of selection at best. The selection distribution correlates more significantly with the frequency of the derived ADH1B regulatory region polymorphism than the derived amino-acid altering allele ADH1B*47His. Thus, the focus of selection may be the regulatory region. The obvious ethnicity-related distributions of ADH1B diversities suggest the existence of some culture-related selective forces that have acted on the ADH1B region. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2008