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A tribal aboriginal community, the Mowanjum, from the Kimberley region in Western Australia has been screened to determine the extent of genetic variation in the products of genes coding for apolipoproteins, which are intimately involved in lipid metabolism. Of the seven systems tested, APOE and APOH revealed common structural variations, but their distribution patterns are significantly different from those found in European populations. Australian Aborigines were found to be unique because they have no APOE*2 and APOH*3 alleles and have strikingly high frequencies of the APOE*4 .(26%) and APOH*l (13%) alleles. The contrast in variation observed at these apolipoprotein loci between Australian Aborigines and Europeans not only makes these loci useful genetic markers in biologic anthropology studies but also provides a unique opportunity to investigate the role of genetic-environment interaction in determining interpopulation differences in cardiovascular disease risk factors.