Variable numbers of composite repetitive motifs are found if different individuals within intron 4 of the surfactant protein B (SP-B) gene (Brochem J. 1995;303:583). This study tests the hypothesis that the distribution of SP-B alleles differs among racial/ethnic groups. A total of 412 SP-B alleles were analyzed: 206 from Caucasian, 68 from African-American, and 138 from Nigerian individuals. Twelve groups of alleles (A-L) carrying 3 to 18 motifs were found. The distribution of the 12 alleles in the Caucasian group differs from that found in the Nigerian (p < .001) and African-American (p < .001) populations. The overall distribution of alleles between the African-American and the Nigerian populations were not statistically different. Specific alleles were also present in different proportions among the groups studied. For example, the most common allele (allele E) in all three populations is present at a significantly higher frequency in Caucasians than in the other two populations, but its frequency does not differ from the Nigerian and African-American groups. A less frequent allele, H, also differs significantly when Caucasians are compared with each of the other two populations, but the frequency of this allele is comparable between the African-American and Nigerian populations. To assess the importance of having comparable racial composition between the control and the case groups, a group of African-American with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) (n = 40) was compared with the African-American and the Caucasian groups studied above. No significant difference was observed between the racially matched groups by a significant difference (p = .006) was observed between the racially mixed groups. The results indicate that the distribution of SP-B alleles differs between the racial groups but not between the ethnic groups studied. Thus, racial composition of the groups under study is important when considering whether particular alleles at this locus predispose to inherited disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry