Survey of the Class I VNTR Allele 814 and Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus in Alaskan Native Tribes
A VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) region upstream of the human insulin gene may affect susceptibility to type I diabetes mellitus (also called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or IDDM) in humans (Lucassen et al., 1993 Bennett et al., 1995). I used the polymerase chain reaction and digestion by the restriction enzyme Hph I to screen for the 814 allele ofthe class I VNTR that is associated with susceptibility to insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in nine Siberian Yupiks and one Tlingit. The Qiagen and Gentra methods were used to isolate the DNA. Because northern native tribes (Eskimo/Aleut and NaDene) are more closely related to each other than either is to Amerindians (Shields et al., 1993), I hypothesized that northern groups may differ from others in their susceptibility to IDDM. While none of the samples analyzed possessed allele 814, my data are limited due to a small sample size and difficulty in determining the correct buffer concentration in the PCR amplification. More data are needed to properly determine the frequency and distribution of the 814 allele in these groups.