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Keywords:

  • Albumin;
  • Polymorphism;
  • Indians

Abstract

Genetic variants of serum albumin are known from populations around the world. Most are quite rare and limited to one family or population, but among several North and Central American Indian populations, two variants, albumins Naskapi and Mexico, reach polymorphic frequencies. No selective advantage to either of these variants has yet been discovered. Their distribution may reflect, in part, prehistoric and historic population movements, and intertribal contacts such as these can now be reconstructed from archeological, linguistic, and historical investigations. In addition, albumin Naskapi has been discovered in at least one non-Indian population, the “Eti” Turks, and perhaps among Indians of the Punjab in north India. If albumin Naskapi has not arisen by independent mutations in each population, its presence in Asia is consistent with an Asian origin of American Indians, and further study could provide more specific localization. Additional analyses of other genetic polymorphisms in these populations may provide additional information on the affinities and origins of the early migrants to the New World.