Variation at 10 protein coding loci in the Mbenzele Pygmies from the Central African Republic and a comparison with microsatellite data
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Ten protein coding loci (6-PGD, A1-AT, ACP1, CaII, ESD, GC, GPX1, Hbβ, PGM1, and TF) were analyzed in the Mbenzele Pygmies from the Central African Republic. The frequency data were used to calculate the genetic distances between Mbenzele Pygmies and other African groups. In the principal coordinate plot of FST genetic distances, the Mbenzele cluster together with other Pygmies of the western cluster, the Biaka from C.A.R., Gielli from Cameroon, and Babinga from Congo. By contrast, they are considerably distanced from other Pygmy groups of the eastern cluster (Twa from Rwanda, Mbuti from Zaire). Genetic distances obtained using protein loci were compared with those based on microsatellite loci. The two distance matrices are insignificantly correlated (r = 0.268; one tail probability = 0.332), and the main difference is in the higher genetic affinity between the Mbenzele and Biaka Pygmies observed at the protein level. Although reasons underlying the discrepancy between inter-populational variation at protein and DNA loci are not established with certainty, the comparison suggests that the genetic distance between the Mbenzele and Biaka Pygmies at microsatellite loci could have been shaped by genetic drift.