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Keywords:

  • founder effect;
  • renal hypouricemia;
  • SLC22A12;
  • URAT1

Renal hypouricemia is an inherited disorder characterized by impaired tubular uric acid transport. Impairment of the function of URAT1, the main transporter for the reabsorption of uric acid at the apical membrane of the renal tubules, causes renal hypouricemia. The G774A mutation in the SLC22A12 gene encoding URAT1 predominates in Japanese renal hypouricemia. From data on linkage disequilibrium between the G774 locus and the 13 markers flanking it (12 single nucleotide polymorphisms and 1 dinucleotide insertion/deletion locus), we here estimate the age of this mutation at approximately 6820 years [95% confidence interval (CI) 1860–11,760 years; median = 2460 years]. This indicates that the origin of the G774A mutation dates back from between the time when the Jomon people predominated in Japan and the time when the Yayoi people started to migrate to Japan from the Korean peninsula. These data are consistent with a recent finding that this G774A mutation was also predominant in Koreans with hypouricemia and indicate that the mutation originated on the Asian continent. Thus, this mutation found in Japanese patients was originally brought by immigrant(s) from the continent and thereafter expanded in the Japanese population either by founder effects or by genetic drift (or both).