Genetic diversity of JC virus in the Saami and the Finns: Implications for their population history



The JC virus (JCV) genotyping method was used to gain insights into the population history of the Saami and the Finns, both speaking Finno-Ugric languages and living in close geographic proximity. Urine samples from Saami and Finns, collected in northern and southern Finland, respectively, were used to amplify a 610-bp JCV-DNA region containing abundant type-specific mutations. Based on restriction site polymorphisms in the amplified fragments, we classified JCV isolates into one of the three superclusters of JCV, type A, B, or C. All 15 Saami isolates analyzed and 41 of 43 Finnish isolates analyzed were classified as type A, the European type, and two samples from Finns were classified as type B, the African/Asian type. We then amplified and sequenced a 583-bp JCV-DNA region from the type A isolates of Saami and Finns. According to type-determining nucleotides within the region, we classified type A isolates into EU-a1, -a2, or -b. Most type A isolates from Saami were classified as EU-a1, while type A isolates from Finns were distributed among EU-a1, EU-a2, and EU-b. This trend in the JCV-genotype distribution was statistically significant. On a phylogenetic tree based on complete sequences, most of the type A isolates from Saami were clustered in a single clade within EU-a1, while those from Finns were distributed throughout EU-a1, EU-a2, and EU-b. These findings are discussed in the context of the population history of the Saami and the Finns. This study provides new complete JCV DNA sequences derived from populations of anthropological interest. Am J Phys Anthropol 128:185-193, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.