Human population genetic structure detected by pain-related mu opioid receptor gene polymorphisms
Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Mu Opioid Receptor gene (OPRM1) have been identified and associated with a wide variety of clinical phenotypes related both to pain sensitivity and analgesic requirements. The A118G and other potentially functional OPRM1 SNPs show significant differences in their allele distributions among populations. However, they have not been properly addressed in a population genetic analysis. Population stratification could lead to erroneous conclusions when they are not taken into account in association studies. The aim of our study was to analyze OPRM1 SNP variability by comparing population samples of the International Hap Map database and to analyze a new population sample from the city of Corrientes, Argentina. The results confirm that OPRM1 SNP variability differs among human populations and displays a clear ancestry genetic structure, with three population clusters: Africa, Asia, and Europe-America.