The Genetic Diversity and Structure of Linkage Disequilibrium of the MTHFR Gene in Populations of Northern Eurasia

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Abstract


The structure of the haplotypes and linkage disequilibrium (LD) of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) in 9 population groups from Northern Eurasia and populations of the international HapMap project was investigated in the present study. The data suggest that the architecture of LD in the human genome is largely determined by the evolutionary history of populations; however, the results of phylogenetic and haplotype analyses seems to suggest that in fact there may be a common “old” mechanism for the formation of certain patterns of LD. Variability in the structure of LD and the level of diversity of MTHFR haplotypes cause a certain set of tagSNPs with an established prognostic significance for each population. In our opinion, the results obtained in the present study are of considerable interest for understanding multiple genetic phenomena: namely, the association of interpopulation differences in the patterns of LD with structures possessing a genetic susceptibility to complex diseases, and the functional significance of the pleiotropic MTHFR gene effect. Summarizing the results of this study, a conclusion can be made that the genetic variability analysis with emphasis on the structure of LD in human populations is a powerful tool that can make a significant contribution to such areas of biomedical science as human evolutionary biology, functional genomics, genetics of complex diseases, and pharmacogenomics.


E. A. Trifonova

Research Institute of Medical Genetics, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Email: vadim.stepanov@medgenetics.ru

Russian Federation

E. R. Eremina

Buryat State University

Email: vadim.stepanov@medgenetics.ru

Russian Federation

F. D. Urnov

University of California

Email: vadim.stepanov@medgenetics.ru

United States

V. A. Stepanov

Research Institute of Medical Genetics, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: vadim.stepanov@medgenetics.ru

Russian Federation

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