The glutathione S-transferase gene family has an important role in the biotransformation and detoxification of different xenobiotics and endogenous compounds. Two polymorphic genes of this family, GSTM1 and GSTT1, present null alleles that consequently do not produce the respective enzyme when the genotype is homozygous. These polymorphisms are also interesting for population dynamics studies because they have great frequency variations among different ethnic groups and have been reported worldwide. The distribution of these alleles in urban and Amerindian populations in Brazil has been described, but none of those studies reported on African-descended rural populations. The aim of this study was to analyze the genotype frequency distribution of the GSTM1 and GSTT1 null alleles in an urban sample from the Federal District (n = 91) and in four semi-isolated African-descended populations: Mocambo (n = 55), Rio das Rãs (n = 117), Riacho de Sacutiaba (n = 34), and Kalunga (n = 68). The GSTM1 and GSTT1 null genotype frequencies in these populations range from 17% to 35% for GSTM1 and from 22% to 44% for GSTT1. These values are similar to those described in other African and African-descended populations. Despite this range, there is no distribution difference among the analyzed populations. Combined GSTM1 and GSTT1 null genotype frequencies range from 6% to 13% and are similar to European-derived populations, suggesting admixture with this ethnic group. This can be interpreted as a European contribution to these African-descended populations. Regarding the urban population in the Federal District, our results suggest an important African and European contribution.
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Vol. 79 • No. 1