Is p53 polymorphism maintained by natural selection?

Hum Hered. Sep-Oct 1994;44(5):266-70. doi: 10.1159/000154228.


We present here a new interesting feature of the human tumor suppressor gene p53: a very pronounced ethnic and clinal variation of polymorphic codon 72 alleles. The frequency of the A1 (Pro) allele showed a north-south cline from 17% in Swedish Saamis to 63% in African Blacks (Nigerians), and there was a significant (p < 0.001) correlation (r = 0.95) between the A2 frequency and latitude. In the Finnish and Swedish populations no significant differences were found with respect to the genotype and allele distributions in spontaneously aborted fetuses and liveborn children, which makes differential intrauterine selection unlikely. However, the ethnic and clinal variations suggest that the codon 72 polymorphism is balanced and maintained by natural selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Selection, Genetic*


  • DNA Primers