Gujarat is located at the western most point of the Indian subcontinent. Valsad and Surat districts are part of the ‘tribal belt’of Gujarat and constitute 29.1% of total tribal population of Gujarat. These tribal populations are a rich source of gaining insights in the patterns of genetic diversity and genetico-environmental disorders against the back drop of their ecological, historical and ethnographic aspects.
The objectives were to find out a) the genetic diversity among the tribes of Gujarat with reference to haptoglobin (Hp) locus b) the relationship between Hp polymorphism and sickle cell anemia/trait.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
431 individuals belonging to eight tribal groups were studied for Hp polymorphism using polyacrylamide disc gel electrophoresis (PAGE). Hb*S was screened by dithionate tube turbididy (DTT) test and confirmed using cellulose acetate membrane electrophoresis (CAME).
Allele frequency was calculated by direct gene counting method. Average heterozygosity and gene diversity were computed using software DISPAN. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) was estimated using software ARLEQUIN version 3.1.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:
Pattern of allele frequency distribution showed preponderance of Hp2 allele in all the eight tribal groups, which is in accordance with its frequency in different populations of Indian subcontinent. Total average heterozygosity (HT) was found to be low (0.160) but the level of genetic differentiation (GST) was found to be moderately high (5.6%). AMOVA analysis indicated least among group variance between west and south Indian populations (-0.04%) indicating the affinities of the tribes of Gujarat with that of Dravidian speaking groups. Analysis of Hp phenotypes among sickle cell anemia/ trait individuals revealed a high frequency of Hp 0-0 phenotype (92.7%) among SS individuals as opposed to only 9.7% among AS individuals, reaffirming the selective advantage of HbAS state in relation to hemolytic disorders.