, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 489-498
Date: 17 Mar 2006

A comparison of major histocompatibility complex SNPs in Han Chinese residing in Taiwan and Caucasians


Genetic dissection of complex diseases is both important and challenging. The human major histocompatibility complex is involved in many human diseases and genetic mechanisms. This highly polymorphic chromosome region has been extensively studied in Caucasians but not as well in Asians. Thus, we compared genotypic distributions, linkage disequilibria and haplotype blocks between Caucasian and Taiwan’s Han Chinese populations. Moreover, we investigated the population admixture and phylogenetic system in Han Chinese residing in Taiwan. The results show that Taiwan’s Han Chinese differ drastically in genotypic information compared with Caucasians but are relatively homogeneous among the three major ethnic subgroups, Minnan, Hakka and Mainlanders. Differences in allele frequency (AF) between Taiwanese and Caucasians in some disease-associated loci may reveal clues to differences in disease prevalence. The results of ethnic heterogeneity imply that public databases should be used with caution in cases where the study population(s) differs from the population characterized in the database. The high homogeneity we observed among the Taiwanese subpopulations mitigates the possibility of spurious association caused by ignoring population stratification in Taiwanese disease gene association studies. These results are useful for understanding our genetic background and designing future disease gene mapping studies.