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Allele frequencies for human deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) phenotypes were determined using blood samples from about 2000 Japanese subjects living in nine prefectures, and compared with one another. DNase I phenotyping was performed principally using isoelectric focusing electrophoresis and activity staining. The DNase I system was shown to have enhanced potential for anthropologic, genetic, and clinical studies of Japanese populations. DNase I phenotypes were analyzed to evaluate the degree of genetic variation at the DNASE1 locus. Our examination of DNase I types revealed a decreasing north-ta-south gradient in the DNASE1 allele.