Geographically separate increases in the frequency of the derived ADH1B*47His allele in eastern and western Asia

Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Oct;81(4):842-6. doi: 10.1086/521201. Epub 2007 Aug 24.


The ADH1B Arg47His polymorphism has been convincingly associated with alcoholism in numerous studies of several populations in Asia and Europe. In a review of literature from the past 30 years, we have identified studies that report allele frequencies of this polymorphism for 131 population samples from many different parts of the world. The derived ADH1B*47His allele reaches high frequencies only in western and eastern Asia. To pursue this pattern, we report here new frequency data for 37 populations. Most of our data are from South and Southeast Asia and confirm that there is a low frequency of this allele in the region between eastern and western Asia. The distribution suggests that the derived allele increased in frequency independently in western and eastern Asia after humans had spread across Eurasia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Asia
  • Asia, Western
  • Asian People / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Gene Flow
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Drift
  • Humans
  • Selection, Genetic


  • DNA Primers
  • ADH1B protein, human
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase