Inverse associations of human leukocyte antigen and malaria parasite types in two West African populations.
Young K., Frodsham A., Doumbo OK., Gupta S., Dolo A., Hu JT., Robson KJH., Crisanti A., Hill AVS., Gilbert SC.
Differences in allelic associations between populations continue to cause difficulties in the mapping and identification of susceptibility genes for complex polygenic diseases. Although well recognized, the basis of such interpopulation differences is poorly understood. We present an example of an inverse allelic association of an immune response genotype to an infectious disease in two neighboring West African populations. In this case, both the key environmental contributor, i.e., the malaria parasite, and a major biological mechanism are well defined. We show that this surprising result fits well with the predictions of a mathematical model describing the population genetics and dynamics of this interaction.