An isochore transition in the NF1 gene region coincides with a switch in the extent of linkage disequilibrium

Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Oct;67(4):873-80. doi: 10.1086/303085. Epub 2000 Sep 6.


Whole-genome association studies will be a powerful tool to identify genes responsible for common human diseases. A crucial task for association-mapping studies is the evaluation of the relationship between linkage disequilibrium (LD) and physical distance for the genomic region under study. Since it is known that the extent of LD is nonuniformly distributed throughout the human genome, the required marker density has to be determined specifically for the region under study. These regions may be related to isochores and chromosomal bands, as indicated by earlier cytogenetic findings concerning chiasma distribution in meiosis. Therefore we analyzed the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene region on chromosome 17q11.2, which is characterized by a nonuniform LD pattern and an L1-to-H2 isochore transition. Long-range LD within the NF1 gene was found to extend over 200 kb (D' = 0.937) in the L1 isochore, whereas, in the neighboring H2 isochore, no LD is apparent between markers spaced by 26 kb (D' = 0.144). Recombination frequencies derived from the LD are at.00019 (high LD) and.01659 (low LD) per megabase, the latter identical to the average value from segregation analysis. The boundary between these regions coincides precisely with a transition in the GC content of the sequences, with low values (37.2%) in the region with long-range LD and high values (51%) in the other. Our results suggest a correlation between the LD pattern and the isochores, at least in the NF1 region. If this correlation can be generalized, the marker densities required for association studies have to be adjusted to the regional GC content and may be chosen according to the isochores.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Base Composition
  • Chromosome Banding*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17 / genetics
  • GC Rich Sequence / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neurofibromin 1
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics


  • Genetic Markers
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurofibromin 1