The present investigation aims to assess the genetic diversity in seven North African populations in order to explore their genetic structure and to compare them to others worldwide populations studied for the same locus.
The dopamine – related genes, like dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene and ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1 (ANKK1) gene are implicated in neurological functions. Some polymorphisms of the DRD2/ANKK1 locus (TaqIA, TaqIB, TaqID) have been used to study genetic diversity and the evolution of human populations. Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the DRD2/ANKK1 locus (rs1800497 TaqIA, rs2242592, rs1124492, rs6277, rs6275, rs1079727, rs2002453, rs2234690 and rs1079597 TaqIB) were typed in 366 individuals from seven North African populations: six from Tunisia (Sousse, Smar, Kesra, Kairouan, Mehdia and Kerkennah) and one from Libya. The allelic frequencies of rs2002453 and rs2234690 were higher in the Smar population than in the other North African populations. More, the Smar population showed the lowest average heterozygosity (0.313). The principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the Smar population was clearly separated from others. Furthermore, linkage disequilibrium analysis shown a high linkage disequilibrium in the North African population and essentially in Smar population. Comparison with other world populations has shown that the heterozygosity of North African population was very close to that of the African and European populations. The PCA and the haplotypic analysis suggested the presence of an important Eurasian genetic component for the North African population. These results suggested that the Smar population was isolated from the others North Africans ones by its peculiar genetic structure because of isolation, endogamy and genetic drift. On the other hand, the North African population is characterized by a multi ancestral gene pool from Eurasia and sub-Saharan Africa due to human migration since prehistoric times. (Publisher Abstract)
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