Minisatellite MS32 Alleles Show Population Specificity Among Thai, Chinese, and Japanese

Lineages of structurally related alleles at minisatellite MS32 in human populations show considerable differentiation at the continental level. However, the regional specificity of these lineages remains unknown. We now describe the comparison of allele structures in Thai, Han Chinese, and Japanese populations with lineages previously established for North Europeans and Africans. The great majority of alignable Asian alleles showed their closest structural relative in Asia, with few instances of preferential alignment of Asian with European alleles and only one isolated incident showing a best match with an African allele. Further, there was a strong tendency, most marked for Japanese, for Asian alleles to align preferentially with other alleles from the same population, indicating strong regional specificity of allele lineages. This rapidly evolving minisatellite can therefore serve as a lineage marker for exploring recent events in human population history and dissecting population structure at the fine-scale level, as well as being an extremely informative DNA marker for personal identification.

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