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Variability of Genetic Load with Changing Socio-Cultural Environment

Srikumari C.R. · Rajanikumari J. · Venkateswara Rao T.
Department of Human Genetics and Physical Anthropology, Andhra University, Waltair, Andhra Pradesh, India Hum Hered 1985;35:388–393 (DOI:10.1159/000153585)


Variability in genetic load has been studied against their contrasting socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in two endogamous populations, namely, the well-off Brahmins and the low income Jalaris of Visakhapatnam, India. The A (genetic and environmental damage) and B (hidden genetic damage) estimates are higher in Jalaris. Decreased A estimates indicate the better medical care in Brahmins; the value of B could be low since many of the deaths in consanguineous families due to infectious diseases are now rarer. The genetic load (B/A ratio) indicates that the average gamete carries 0.057 and 2.123 deleterious genes, respectively, in Brahmins and Jalaris, which, if made homozygous, would kill an individual before reproductive age. The load is 35 times higher in Jalaris; this may be due to their higher inbreeding level. Contrasting socio-economic differences and meagre medical aid might add another bias towards relatively higher B/A in Jalaris. In general the observed genetic load in both populations are lower than in other studies which may be due to gradual elimination of deleterious genes by continued practice of inbreeding.


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