Background: Genes ADH1B and ADH1C have certain functional SNPs that are related to alcoholism. The frequencies of these polymorphisms vary between populations, so studying them in populations made up of groups with different phylogeographic origins requires an individualized analysis of each group. In the Basque Country, various recently arrived foreign groups live side by side with the original Southern European population, particularly North Africans from Morocco and Hispanics from Ecuador. This study sets out to examine the distribution of the frequencies of alleles that encode alcohol dehydrogenase with different metabolization rates, as higher rates make for greater susceptibility to alcoholism.
Methods: Four SNPs: rs1229984, rs2066702, rs698, and rs1693482 using Taqman technology with a Rt-PCR were studied in a sample of 114 European individuals originating from the Basque Country, 100 North Africans from Morocco, and 109 Hispanics from Ecuador. The allele and genotype frequencies were calculated using Genepop v4.0. The most frequent haplotypes were estimated using the ELB algorithm with Arlequin v3.01. A breakdown of the complete disequilibrium commonly observed between the 2 missense polymorphisms that distinguish the common ADH1C alleles rs698 and rs1693482 was observed and confirmed by sequencing in 2 individuals from the Basque Country.
Results: A higher frequency of protective allele ADH1C*1 was found in the North African population group. Haplotype combinations are also studied, and the rare association of alleles ADH1B*2–ADH1C*2 was observed in the Southern European group in the Basque Country, along with an allele not hitherto described in the ADH1C locus.
Conclusions: This study provides the first data published on the allele and genotype frequencies of the ADH1C locus in the Moroccan population and on the ADH1B and ADH1C loci in the Ecuadorian population. The study shows differences in the distribution of the frequency of allele ADH1C*1 between the Basque Country and Moroccan populations, and a new allele not described to date.