Mild hyperhomocysteinemia is associated to mutations either in cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) or in 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genes. In 1995, Sebastio et al. characterized a 68 bp insertion in cis with the most common CBS mutation (T833C) detected in homocystinuric patients. Recently, this double mutation has been detected in Italian and North-American controls. Compared to a group of patients affected by coronary artery disease, North-American controls showed not statistically significant difference. Moreover, Italian controls displayed a microheterogeneity in the mutant allele frequency distribution depending on their geographical origin (North or South of Italy). Aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence of the double in cis mutation in different populations. We studied 377 healthy subjects belonging to various human groups. Genomic DNA, extracted from peripheral blood samples, was amplified using specific primers, PCR fragments were digested with Bsr I restriction enzyme to detect the double mutation. Our data show a significant heterogeneity among the populations studied, therefore this mutation turned out to be a reliable anthropogenetic marker. The distribution of the double mutation will contribute, with other DNA polymorphisms, to evaluate the genetic admixture of mixed populations such as Afro-Americans.
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