• anthropology;
  • HLA class II;
  • Morocco;
  • North Africa;
  • PCR-SSO;
  • population genetics

Abstract: HLA DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 polymorphisms were analyzed by PCR-SSO typing in a sample of the Moroccan population from Souss. Uneven allelic frequency distributions are observed at each locus, with particularly high frequencies for DRB1*0701, DRB1*0301, DQA1*0501, DQA1*0201, and DQB1*0201. Only three haplotypes (DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1*0201, DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 and DRB1*11-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301) account for nearly 50% of the total gene frequencies. A genetic distance analysis reveals that the Moroccan population is close to the Spanish and the Algerians, who live in geographically neighboring areas. However, the Souss population is also characterized by a lower level of genetic diversity compared to other African and European populations from the Mediterranean area. This may be the result of a rapid genetic drift due to their likely geographical and/or cultural isolation.