Variability of innate immune system genes in Native American populations - Relationship with history and epidemiology

Juliana Dal Ri Lindenau, Francisco Mauro Salzano, Ana Hurtado, Kim Hill, Maria Luiza Petzl-Erler, Luiza Tamie Tsuneto, Mara Helena Hutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives The immune system of a host, defending him/her against invading pathogens, has two main subsystems: innate immunity and acquired immunity. There are several evidences showing that Native American populations are immunologically different from non-Native populations. Our aim was to describe the variability of innate immune system genes in Native American populations. Materials and Methods We investigated heterozygozities and patterns of population differentiation (FST) of 14 polymorphisms related to the innate immune response in five Native American populations (Aché, Guarani-Kaiowá, Guarani-Ñandeva, Kaingang, and Xavante) and the results were compared with the three major world population data (YRI, CEU, and CHB) available at the 1,000 genomes database. Results Mean heterozygosities ranged between 0.241 ± 0.057 (Aché) and 0.343 ± 0.033 (Kaingang), but no significant differences were observed (Friedman test, P = 0.197). Mean heterozygosities were also not significantly different when Amerindians were pooled and compared with the 1000 genomes populations (Friedman test, P = 0.506). When the Native American populations were grouped as Amerindians, a significantly higher FST value (0.194) was observed between the Amerindian and African populations. The Ewens-Watterson neutrality test showed that these markers are not under strong selective pressure. Discussion Native American populations present similar levels of heterozygosity as those of other continents, but are different from Africans in the frequency of polymorphisms of innate immune genes. This higher differentiation is probably due to demographic processes that occurred during the out-of-Africa event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-728
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Amerindian demography
  • Amerindians
  • innate immune genes
  • natural selection
  • pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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