Microsatellite markers are an essential tool for genetic linkage analysis because of their high polymorphism content. Four hundred commercially available markers covering the entire genome were genotyped from 578 sib individuals from 249 Korean families. Allelic frequencies and heterozygosities were determined for each marker loci and compared between Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese and Caucasian populations. In the three Asian populations, 10-13% of the markers had less than 0.6 heterozygosity, whereas in the Caucasian population, only 0.5% of the markers had less than 0.6 heterozygosity. Mean identical by descent (IBD) values were calculated for 578 sib individuals.Analysis of IBD values greater than 0.5 suggested that markers with low heterozygosity can also provide positive linkages, at least for the IBD sharing method of model-free linkage analysis. The data presented in this study will be a useful reference for genome-wide screens of Koreans and comparative studies with other ethnic populations.
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