How history and geography may explain the distribution in the Comorian archipelago of a novel mutation in DNA repair-deficient xeroderma pigmentosum patients


Genet. Mol. Biol.




Abstract Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is a rare, genetic, autosomal nucleotide excision repair-deficient disease characterized by sun-sensitivity and early appearance of skin and ocular tumors. Thirty-two black-skinned XP from Comoros, located in the Indian Ocean, were counted, rendering this area the highest world prevalence of XP. These patients exhibited a new homozygous XPC mutation at the 3’-end of the intron12 (IVS 12-1G>C) leading to the absence of XPC protein. This mutation, characteristic of the consanguineous Comorian families, is associated with a founder effect with an estimated age of about 800 years. Analysis of mt-DNA and Y-chromosome identified the haplogroups of patients, who are derived from the Bantu people. Although the four Comorian islands were populated by the same individuals during the 7-10th centuries, XP was found now only in the Comorian island of Anjouan. To avoid the slavery process caused by the arrival of the Arabs around the 11-13th centuries, inhabitants of Anjouan, including XP-heterozygotes, hid inland of the island protected by volcanoes. This population lived with an endogamic style, without connection with the other islands. XP patients still live in the same isolated villages as their ancestries. Local history and geography may, thus, explain the high incidence of XP located exclusively in one island.

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