Collegium antropologicum, vol. 28, issue 2 (2004) pp. 603-610
Alu elements are a family of interspersed repeats in the genome propagating by retroposition into new chromosomal locations. Alu insertion in Ace gene is known to be polymorphic (presence/absence of Alu element) in worldwide populations and as such serves as marker for population structure analyses. In this study we examined the distribution of genotypes and allele frequencies of this polymorphism in general Croatian population and its two isolates (the island of Hvar and the coastal region of the Middle Dalmatia) and related them to the level of endogamy as an indicator of inbreeding in these populations. Results showed that these three population groups are different with respect to Ace Alu polymorphism. The endogamy was highest on the island of Hvar. With the increase of endogamy a decrease in heterozigosity was observed. The same trend was observed for the frequency of insertion allele. Its frequencies in the village subpopulations of two studied isolates are subject to genetic drift due to small population sizes and high levels of endogamy. This in turn causes genetic differentiation among villages that is observed to be higher on the island of Hvar than in the coastal region. In the worldwide perspective, the Ace Alu insertion allele frequency of 50.6% in the general Croatian population falls within the range of other European populations.
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