The background linkage disequilibrium (LD) in genetic isolates is of great interest in human genetics. Although many empirical studies have evaluated the background LD in European isolates, such as the Finnish and Sardinians, few data from other regions, such as Asia, have been reported. To evaluate the extent of background LD in East Asian genetic isolates, we analyzed the X chromosome in the Japanese population and in four Mongolian populations (Khalkh, Khoton, Uriankhai, and Zakhchin), the demographic histories of which are quite different from one another. Fisher's exact test revealed that the Japanese and Khalkh, which are the expanded populations, had the same or a relatively higher level of LD than did the Finnish, European American, and Sardinian populations. In contrast, the Khoton, Uriankhai, and Zakhchin populations, which have kept their population size constant, had a higher background LD. These results were consistent with previous genetic anthropological studies in European isolates and indicate that the Japanese and Khalkh populations could be utilized in the fine mapping of both complex and monogenic diseases, whereas the Khoton, Uriankhai, and Zakhchin populations could play an important role in the initial mapping of complex disease genes.
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