Evidence for duplication of the human salivary amylase gene
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Isoelectric focusing of human parotid saliva reveals different α-amylase patterns reflecting qualitative and quantitative variations. A puzzling pattern, which shows three different amylase gene products, was found in four individuals. Based on this observation a model is presented in which the salivary amylase gene is duplicated. Family studies show that the AMY1*A2 gene forms a haplotype with the normal gene, AMY1*A1, whereas the AMY1*A3 gene still exists in a single form. The absence of homozygote 2-2 in offspring of 1-2x1-2 marriages and in population material, and the fact that the variant protein makes up about only 20–30% of the total amylase protein in heterozygotes can be considered as additional evidence supporting the hypothesis. The possibility that cis-acting regulatory variants are involved in the patterns with quantitative variation is discussed.
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