New HLA haplotype frequency reference standards: high-resolution and large sample typing of HLA DR-DQ haplotypes in a sample of European Americans

Tissue Antigens. 2003 Oct;62(4):296-307. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-0039.2003.00103.x.


A collaborative study involving a large sample of European Americans was typed for the histocompatibility loci of the HLA DR-DQ region and subjected to intensive typing validation measures in order to accurately determine haplotype composition and frequency. The resulting tables have immediate application to HLA typing and allogeneic transplantation. The loci within the DR-DQ region are especially valuable for such an undertaking because of their tight linkage and high linkage disequilibrium. The 3798 haplotypes, derived from 1899 unrelated individuals, had a total of 75 distinct DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes. The frequency distribution of the haplotypes was right skewed with haplotypes occurring at a frequency of less than 1% numbering 59 and yet constituting less than 12% of the total sample. Given DRB1 typing, it was possible to infer the exact DQA1 and DQB1 composition of a haplotype with high confidence (>90% likelihood) in 21 of the 35 high-resolution DRB1 alleles present in the sample. Of the DRB1 alleles without high reliability for DQ haplotype inference, only *0401, *0701 and *1302 were common, the remaining 11 DRB1 alleles constituting less than 5% of the total sample. This approach failed for the 13 serologically equivalent DR alleles in which only 33% of DQ haplotypes could be reliably inferred. The 36 DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes present in the total sample conformed to the known pattern of permissible heterodimers. Four DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes, all rare, are reported here for the first time. The haplotype frequency tables are suitable as a reference standard for HLA typing of the DR and DQ loci in European Americans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency*
  • HLA-A Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-B Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ alpha-Chains
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Haplotypes*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Testing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Reference Standards


  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-B Antigens
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ alpha-Chains
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQA1 antigen
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II