Genetic variation at three apolipoprotein loci (APOA4, APOH, and APOE) has been examined in nine endogamous populations of Punjab, North India. The overall pattern of allele frequency variation at different loci is compatible with that of European populations, but observed microvariation differentiates the populations according to their position in the Indian caste structure. The most common allele at the APOA4 locus was APOA4*1 with a narrow frequency range (89%-92%). APOH*2 allele frequency was highest in these populations (0.852-0.914). APOE*E4 allele frequency was relatively low (6%-10%) in the North Indian populations compared to its frequency in many European populations. The anthropological usage of these polymorphisms was evaluated using multivariate analyses. Genetic distance analysis and principal correspondence analysis showed that the North Indian populations are closest to Europeans, followed by Chinese and African populations. Overall, this study highlights the usefulness of apolipoproteins as genetic markers for clinical, population, and anthropological studies.
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