Some Questions Raised by Studies on Greenland Eskimos
The Inuit people of Greenland and North America have a very high incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), only surpassed by Southeast-Asia Chinese. Several studies have demonstrated that the Eskimo children experience earlier infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) than children in Denmark (1, 2) and that both children and adult Inuit have higher mean titers of IgG anti-VCA antibodies than like-aged Danes (3, 4). The high antibody titer among Eskimo children might reflect one or more of the following conditions: 1) infection very early in life, 2) primary infection with a large dose of virus, 3) frequent re-exposure to EBV. The same factors might also contribute to the 20-time higher incidence of NPC in Eskimos than in Caucasians. Ancestral Eskimos migrated from Siberia to North America some 10,000 years ago (5). Their genetic relatedness to Southeast Asians is unknown.
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