Evidence for recent selection of the CCR5-Δ32 deletion from differences in its frequency between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews
Kostrikis, Leontios G.
Neumann, A. U.
SourceGenes and immunity
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Recent studies have shown higher frequencies of the CCR5-Δ32 allele and the CCR5-A32/Δ32 genotype, which confers protection against HIV infection, in northern Europe as compared to Mediterranean countries. Here, we analyse the prevalence of CCR5-Δ32 in 922 HIV seronegative blood donors in Israel to verify its frequency in Jews of Ashkenazi and Sephardi origin. A significant difference (P < 0.001) was found between the CCR5-Δ32 allele frequency in Ashkenazi (13.8%) vs (4.9%) Jews. In contrast, no significant difference was observed in the frequency of the CCR2-641 mutation between Ashkenazi (9.2%) and Sephardi (13.4%) Jews. Using the Island model we calculate that a minimal genetic migration rate of 3% per generation would have been necessary if the higher CCR5-Δ32 prevalence in Ashkenazi is to be fully explained by mixing with the indigenous north-European populations. This putative migration rate is 20-fold higher than that currently estimated from other genes, and would correspond to a non-realistic minimal current admixture of 80%. Thus, our results suggest that a positive selection process for CCR5-Δ32 should have occurred in northern Europe at most a 1000 years ago, after the Ashkenazi Jews separated from their Sephardi kin and moved to north Europe.
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