The global distribution of the Duffy blood group
Howes RE., Patil AP., Piel FB., Nyangiri OA., Kabaria CW., Gething PW., Zimmerman PA., Barnadas C., Beall CM., Gebremedhin A., Ménard D., Williams TN., Weatherall DJ., Hay SI.
Blood group variants are characteristic of population groups, and can show conspicuous geographic patterns. Interest in the global prevalence of the Duffy blood group variants is multidisciplinary, but of particular importance to malariologists due to the resistance generally conferred by the Duffy-negative phenotype against Plasmodium vivax infection. Here we collate an extensive geo-database of surveys, forming the evidence-base for a multi-locus Bayesian geostatistical model to generate global frequency maps of the common Duffy alleles to refine the global cartography of the common Duffy variants. We show that the most prevalent allele globally was FY*A, while across sub-Saharan Africa the predominant allele was the silent FY*B(ES) variant, commonly reaching fixation across stretches of the continent. The maps presented not only represent the first spatially and genetically comprehensive description of variation at this locus, but also constitute an advance towards understanding the transmission patterns of the neglected P. vivax malaria parasite.