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Keywords:

  • Brazilian population;
  • computational biology;
  • genetic distances;
  • human leukocyte antigen allele and haplotype frequencies;
  • linear algebra;
  • sequence-based typing

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecular variation across the Brazilian population in order to determine possible regional differences, which would be highly relevant to optimizing donor recruitment strategies in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and understanding the population genetic background of this heterogeneous country. HLA data of 551 HSCT donors from five Brazilian regions were characterized by high-resolution DNA alleles at the HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1 and -DQB1 loci and compared with other populations in Brazil and worldwide populations. Allele and haplotype frequencies were estimated. The analysis was performed to assess Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) and linkage disequilibrium (LD) among different loci in each recruitment center. Genetic variation was explored through genetic distance analyzed by using a new algorithm based on linear algebra, taking into account geographic regions of Brazil. The results indicated a heterogeneous genetic composition of the Brazilian population, such that HLA allele and haplotype frequencies exhibit different distributions among Brazilian regions, which has important implications for donor matching. In addition, a pronounced differentiation was observed by the absence of clustering of the regional populations in the reduced-dimension space. These data may be useful for increasing donor recruitment with more genetic representativeness in the Brazilian Volunteer Bone Marrow Donors Registry (REDOME).