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Genetic studies on the Ticuna, an eni matic tribe of Central Amazonas

By  and James V. NeelHenry Gershowitz, Harvey W. Mohrenweiser, Bernard Amos, Donna D. Kostyu, Francisco M. Salzano, Moacyr A. Mestriner, Dale Lawrence, Aguinaldo L. Simotes, Peter E. Smouse, William J. Oliver, Richard S. Spielman and James V. Neel


The Ticuna are an Amerindian tribe of Central Amazonas, a key location in theories of the peopling of eastern South America. The results of typing some 1760 members of the tribe with respect to 37 different genetic systems are reported, as are the results of HLA typings on a subsample of 129 persons. Salient findings include the following. (1) Except for a high frequency of the L Ms allele and an unusual combination of HLA allele frequencies, there are no notable findings with respect to the commonly studied polymorphic systems. A multivariate treatment of six of the most commonly studied genetic polymorphisms accords the Ticuna an ‘average’ position among Amerindian tribes. (2) There is much less intervillage heterogeneity than usually encountered in Amerindian tribes; this is attributed to recent high rates of intervillage migration due to religious developments. (3) A thus-far unique polymorphism of ACP 1 was identified, the responsible allele having a frequency of 0.111. (4) In proportion to the size of the tribe, there was a relative paucity of ‘private’ genetic variants, the ACP 1 allele being the only one. This discrepancy is attributed to a relatively recent numerical expansion of the tribe; effective population size over the past several thousand years is thought to have been well below what present numbers would suggest. (5) The thesis is again advanced that ‘private variants’ (alleles not occurring as polymorphisms of wide distribution) are more common in Amerindian than in Caucasian or Japanese populations

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Year: 1980
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.1980.tb00944.x
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