Polymorphism frequencies of the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) hypervariable region have been analyzed in a sample of Italian and Ivory Coast individuals. The 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of DAT1 includes a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) of a 40-bp monomer, ranging from 3 to 13 repeats in Caucasian and African populations. In our sample we found alleles with 3 to 16 repeats, and the most common alleles were the 10- repeat (DAT1*10) and the 9-repeat (DAT1*9) alleles. We also found two rare alleles in the Italian population and four in the Ivory Coast population. For the first time the new allele DAT1*16 is described in the Ivorians. The Ivory Coast population was not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium for the DAT1 locus because of a deficit of heterozygote genotypes. The observed heterozygosity of the Ivorian population was half that of the Italians. The lower observed heterozygosity and deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium could be the result of microevolutionary trends, such as genetic drift and/or inbreeding, acting on the relatively small and isolated population sampled for this study, although some sort of selective pressures acting against the shorter alleles cannot be excluded. This evidence, in association with the reduced polymorphism shown by the DAT1 VNTR compared to other VNTRs, seems to indicate that the DAT1 locus may be under some selective pressure.
Santovito, Alfredo; Cervella, Piero; Selvaggi, Anna; and Caviglia, Gian Paolo
"DAT1 VNTR Polymorphisms in a European and an African
Population: Identification of a New Allele,"
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol80/iss2/6