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Allele frequencies are most often reported from small convenience samples of unknown demographics and limited generalizability. We detenmned the distribution of apolipoprotein E genotype (APOE) and allele frequencies for a large, well-defined, representative, rural, population-based sample (11 = 4450) aged 55-95 years in Ballabgarh, in the northern Indian state of Haryana. The overall APOE E*2, E*3, and E*4 allele frequencies were 0.039, 0.887, and 0.073, respectively; frequencies are also reported by age, sex, and religious/caste groups. The APOE*4 frequency is among the lowest reported anywhere in the world. APOE allele frequencies did not vary significantly by age or sex in this study. To our knowledge, this is the largest Indian sample ever genotyped for the APOE polymorphism. The representativeness of the sample and its known demographics provide a much-needed normative background for studies of gene-disease associations.