Anthropological analysis of Koreans using HLA class II diversity among East Asians

J. H. Yang, Y. H. Sohn, S. Y. Ko, S. E. Choi, M. H. Kim, H. B. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are useful markers for anthropological investigations because the allele and haplotype distributions at these loci vary widely among ethnic groups. HLA frequencies in Koreans, however, have not previously been analyzed on a phylogenetic basis. We determined the allele frequencies of four HLA class II (HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, -DQB1, and -DPB1) loci in 149 unrelated Korean individuals using a sequence-based typing method. A total of 29 HLA-DRB1, 17 HLA-DQA1, 16 HLA-DQB1, and 15 HLA-DPB1 alleles were identified. The most common allele at each locus was DRB1*0901, DQA1*0102, DQB1*0301, and DPB1*0501, respectively. Four-locus allelic association analysis showed the existence of 25 DRB1-DQA1-DQB1-DPB1 haplotypes with a frequency greater than 0.010. A dataset comprising ethnicity-specific information from published literature and the dbMHC database, as well as the allele frequencies determined in this study, was subjected to phylogenetic analysis. The analysis showed that Koreans are most closely related to Japanese and Han Chinese from Shandong province. Correspondence analyses showed that the current Korean population is located in a position intermediate between the northern and southern East Asian groups, supporting the theory of a bi- and/or multidirectional route of migration of early Korean settlers. This report can be used for anthropological studies, and may also be of use in the International Hematopoietic Stem Cell Sharing program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalTissue Antigens
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Koreans
  • alleles
  • anthropological analysis
  • haplotypes
  • human leukocyte antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics


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