A sample of 100 individuals from 50 French families of known pedigrees were typed for 14 loci of the HLA region (DPB1, DQB1, DQA1, DRB1, DRB3, 4, 5, C4B, C4A, Bf, C2, TNFa, TNFb, B, Cw, A). Linkage disequilibrium in each pair of loci was investigated by an exact test using a Markov chain algorithm. The results indicate no disequilibrium between DPB1 and the other loci, whereas the other class II genes are all significantly linked to each other. Linkage disequilibrium is also detected between some pairs of class I and class II-class I loci despite the long physical distance separating the loci (e.g. A-B, Cw-DRB1). On the other hand, some contiguous loci of the class III region are found to be in equilibrium with each other. Several hypotheses including selection, but also unequal allelic diversity at different MHC loci are discussed to explain this complex pattern of linkage disequilibrium.
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