Distribution of an allele associated with blond hair color across northern island melanesia
Article first published online: 22 JAN 2014
Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 153, Issue 4, pages 653–662, April 2014
How to Cite
Norton, H. L., Correa, E. A., Koki, G. and Friedlaender, J. S. (2014), Distribution of an allele associated with blond hair color across northern island melanesia. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 153: 653–662. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22466
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 22 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 SEP 2013
- Island Melanesia;
- hair pigmentation;
- phenotype association
Pigmentation of the skin, hair, and eyes is a complex trait controlled by multiple genetic loci. Recently a non-synonymous mutation in the pigmentation candidate gene TYRP1 was shown to be significantly associated with a blond-hair phenotype in populations from the Solomon Islands. The distribution of this mutation in the islands of Northern Island Melanesia, where the blondism phenotype is also prevalent, was unknown. Here, we present data describing the distribution of this allele in 550 individuals sampled from across this region, and test for associations between genotype at this locus and quantitatively measured skin and hair pigmentation phenotype. We report that the frequency of the 93C allele is notably lower than observed in the Solomons (0.12 vs. 0.26). The allele exhibits significant geographic heterogeneity across the islands sampled (χ2 = 108.4, P < 0.0001). It is observed at its highest frequencies on the islands of New Ireland and New Hanover, while being almost completely absent from the large island of New Britain. Using linear regression with age, sex, and island as covariates we report that, as in the Solomons, the 93C allele is significantly associated with a decrease in hair pigmentation but not skin pigmentation. We discuss the distribution of the 93C allele across the Southwest Pacific in light of its possible place of origin and dispersal. Am J Phys Anthropol 153:653–662, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.