European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 6 May 2009; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2009.69
Isolated populations as treasure troves in genetic epidemiology: the case of the Basques
Paolo Garagnani et al.
The Basques are a culturally isolated population, living across the western border between France and Spain and speaking a non-Indo-European language. They show outlier allele frequencies in the ABO, RH, and HLA loci. To test whether Basques are a genetic isolate with the features that would make them good candidates in genetic association studies, we genotyped 123 SNPs in a 1-Mb region in chromosome 22 in Basque samples from France and Spain, as well as in samples from northern and southern Spain, and in three North African samples. Both Basque samples showed similar levels of heterozygosity to the other populations, and the decay of linkage disequilibrium with physical distance was not different between Basques and non-Basques. Thus, Basques do not show the genetic properties expected in population isolates.
Keywords: Basques, linkage disequilibrium, genetic isolates