Balanced polymorphism in bottlenecked populations: the case of the CCR5 5' cis-regulatory region in Amazonian Amerindians

Hum Immunol. 2010 Sep;71(9):922-8. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2010.05.022. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


The 5' cis-regulatory region of the CCR5 gene exhibits a strong signature of balancing selection in several human populations. Here we analyze the polymorphism of this region in Amerindians from Amazonia, who have a complex demographic history, including recent bottlenecks that are known to reduce genetic variability. Amerindians show high nucleotide diversity (pi = 0.27%) and significantly positive Tajima's D, and carry haplotypes associated with weak and strong gene expression. To evaluate whether these signatures of balancing selection could be explained by demography, we perform neutrality tests based on empiric and simulated data. The observed Tajima's D was higher than that of other world populations; higher than that found for 18 noncoding regions of South Amerindians, and higher than 99.6% of simulated genealogies, which assume nonequilibrium conditions. Moreover, comparing Amerindians and Asians, the Fst for CCR5 cis-regulatory region was unusually low, in relation to neutral markers. These findings indicate that, despite their complex demographic history, South Amerindians carry a detectable signature of selection on the CCR5 cis-regulatory region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Computer Simulation
  • Gene Frequency / genetics
  • Genetic Drift
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Haplotypes / genetics
  • Humans
  • Indians, South American / genetics*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Receptors, CCR5 / genetics*
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic / genetics
  • South America / ethnology
  • Untranslated Regions / genetics


  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Untranslated Regions