MHC class I polymorphic Alu insertion (POALIN) allele and haplotype frequencies in the Arabs of the United Arab Emirates and other world populations

Jerzy K. Kulski, Aurelie Mawart, Kirsten Marie, Guan K. Tay, Habiba S. AlSafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Polymorphic Alu insertions (POALINs) are found throughout the human genome and have been used in various studies to infer geographic origin of human populations. The main aim of this study was to determine the allele and haplotype frequencies of five POALINs, AluHF, AluHG, AluHJ, AluTF and AluMICB, within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I region of 95 UAE Arabs, and correlate their frequencies to those of the HLA-A, HLA-C and HLA-B class I allele lineages. Evolutionary relationships between the POALINs of the Arabs and those previously studied in populations of African, Asian and European descent were compared. At each of the five Alu loci (AluHF, AluHG, AluHJ, AluTF and AluMICB), Alu insertion was designated as Alu(locus)*02 and absence was Alu(locus)*01. The AluHG insertion (AluHG*02) had the highest frequency (0.332), followed by AluHF*02 (0.300), AluHJ*02 (0.263), AluMICB*02 (0.111) and AluTF*02 (0.058). Of the 270 Alu-HLA haplotypes pairs in the UAE Arabs, 110 had no Alu insertion, and 54 had an Alu insertion at >50% per haplotype. An Alu insertion >75% per haplotype was found between AluMICB*02 and HLA-B*14, HLA-B*22, HLA-B*44, HLA-B*55, HLA-B*57 and HLA-B*73, and with HLA-C*01 and HLA-C*18; AluHJ*02 with HLA-A*01, HLA-A*19, HLA-A*24 and HLA-A*32; AluHG*02 with HLA-A*02 and HLA-B*18; and AluHF*02 with HLA-A*10. The genotyped allele and haplotype frequencies of the MHC POALINs in UAE Arabs were compared with the results of 30 previously published Asian, European, American and African populations. Phylogenetic and multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis of the relative MHC POALINs allele and haplotype frequencies revealed that the UAE Arabs have a similar lineage to Caucasians and the most distant genetic relationship to the Waorani native American population of Ecuador. The structure of both the phylogenetic tree and the MDS analysis supports the Out of Africa theory of human evolution. The nature of the clusters suggests the Arabian Middle East represents a crossroads from which human populations migrated towards Asia in the east and Europe to the north-west.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-262
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Immunogenetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'MHC class I polymorphic Alu insertion (POALIN) allele and haplotype frequencies in the Arabs of the United Arab Emirates and other world populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this