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The genetic relationships of human populations have been studied by comparing gene frequency data for protein and blood-group loci of different populations. DNA analysis now promises to be more informative since not only do the DNA coding sequences have more variation than their corresponding proteins but, in addition, noncoding DNA sequences display more extensive polymorphism. We have now studied the frequency of a group of closely linked nuclear DNA polymorphisms (haplotypes) in the beta-globin gene cluster of normal (beta A) chromosomes of individuals from eight diverse populations. We have found that all non-African populations share a limited number of common haplotypes whereas Africans have predominantly a different haplotype not found in other populations. Genetic distance analysis based on these nuclear DNA polymorphisms indicates a major division of human populations into an African and a Eurasian group.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





491 - 493


Alleles, Animals, Biological Evolution, Cell Nucleus, DNA, DNA Restriction Enzymes, Ethnic Groups, Genes, Genetic Linkage, Globins, Haplorhini, Humans, Polymorphism, Genetic