Interethnic genetic differentiation in Africa: HLA class I antigens in The Gambia

Am J Hum Genet. 1992 Feb;50(2):411-21.


A total of 752 individuals from The Gambia, west Africa who are representative of the major ethnic groups in the capital, Banjul, were serologically typed for HLA-A, -B, and -C antigens. Although all were typically "African" in their antigenic profiles, some marked frequency differences were found between the ethnic groups. Genetic distance comparisons with several other African populations showed that, although these west African populations clustered closely together, the positions of the various ethnic groups in The Gambia were consistent with historical and linguistic evidence of their affinities with one another and with other African populations. Despite the potential confounding effects both of selection by infectious diseases and of genetic drift caused by local differences in population structure, HLA frequencies appear to be of value in measuring inter- and intraregional population affinities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Alleles
  • Ethnicity / genetics*
  • Gambia
  • Genes, MHC Class I*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Humans