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  • HLA bone marrow donation

    I signed up as a donor for the bone marrow registry. As a nice byproduct, they tested some HLA from my DNA (this is what the registry is about: they need to find matches to the HLA of the people who need marrow transplant).

    I think there is potential genealogical information in these test results. However, I know next to nothing about HLA. Does anybody have a good souce article or book about HLA and especially their distribution in different countries?

    cacio

  • #2
    Seem to recall that Cavalli-Sforza's work used HLA factors in part.

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    • #3
      Gift of life!

      First off, what an incredible gift of life. Thank you! Now having said that. What is HLA?
      Maria

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Maria_W
        First off, what an incredible gift of life. Thank you! Now having said that. What is HLA?
        Maria
        An excellent article on the human leukocyte antigen system (HLA), from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_leukocyte_antigen

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        • #5
          Thanks for the article, quite nice.

          HLA's are genes on chromosome 6, so, as with any other genes, they can be used for genealogical purposes, or to distinguish populations. I'm starting to look around a bit on the distribution, though I haven't found a nice table yet. They also seem to be more dispersed than, say, the Y chromosome, which is expected, as they can be passed on by either parent.

          cacio

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          • #6
            For those interested, I have found a general website that reports the results from many studies on HLA. One can search by phenotype, and one gets the percentage of the phenotype in all populations, or by population.

            http://www.allelefrequencies.net/

            (If only a thing like this existed for the Y and mtdna haplogroups...)

            Not that I understand much, but still, a starting point. It seems that for HLA-A the most frequent allele in W Europe (the world?) is A*02, which I have too. However, there isn't anything like the dominance of R1b (or even H). HLA-B seems more dispersed (I seem to have the most common in Northern Italy, B*51)

            cacio

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            • #7
              Need help!

              Thank you for the website but I can't figure out how to use it.
              Maria

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              • #8
                Any links to labs that do these tests for the curious?

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                • #9
                  Maria_W:

                  it's a little complicated because there are many options for flexibility, but once you try, you'll find your way through.

                  First log in (you can simply write in a name, you don't need to create an account), then click on "Frequency search". This will open a new window with various options, related to different tests. The genes tested in the bone marrow donation registration are HLA, so check
                  "search allele database" HLA
                  and click search.

                  a new window will open where you have to specify which HLA location. The two main ones are A and B, so for instance choose A and proceed. At this point you can (finally) specify the search criteria. Here you have two main options. If you want to search by population (ie what is the distribution, say, in Italy) select the population of interest, and then look for _all_ alleles, that is, "starting allele" the first in the list, and "ending allele" the last in the list, which happens to be A*9226. You can ignore the other criteria. This will produce the desired table, ie that of the distribution of HLA-A in Italy. By leaving "all" in population and specifying instead a given allele (say A*02), you can find the distribution of the allele in all countries studied.

                  hope this helps. Of course, it's more interesting if one knows one's own HLA and so is searching for them.

                  cacio

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                  • #10
                    tomcat:

                    to join the bone marrow donation registry, you can check

                    http://www.marrow.org/

                    "How to join". They'll send a cheek swab and test only the three main ones (HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DRB1) at a general level, for a contribution of $52 or so.

                    To test more (or the other HLA), I'm sure there are many labs, but I don't know which ones. Because they are medical tests (ie they can have medical value), I suspect though that the cost could be higher than what we are used from our genealogical tests.

                    cacio

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                    • #11
                      The frequency of HLA alleles for different ethnic groups in the national bone marrow donor program in the US is available at:

                      http://bioinformatics.nmdp.org/PUBLI...tml?src=review

                      cacio

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tomcat
                        Any links to labs that do these tests for the curious?
                        I did it too,at the Red Cross a few years ago-but they don't tell you what you're Human Leukosyte Antigen is. It's advanced,cool ,so why not, I thought. I had wanted to donate blood to see what that's like,and I did 3 times,after which I felt weak and drained of my life forces and decided not to do it again unless I had too.Blood can only be donated every two months at the Red Cross,but that's how long it took me to recuperate;only God knows how weak you'll feel if you donate marrow. I sign up for that too,but haven't been called. Besides I might need some marrow myself-if I come down with a wacky disease.It could Happen,.One never knows.....

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                        • #13
                          Jambalaia32 :

                          if you signed up for the donor program, you can learn your own HLA's. They don't tell you on their own, but if you ask, they will send you a letter with your results. You can contact your regional bone marrow donor center, by letter or by phone, and they will send you a letter at home with your test results.
                          http://www.marrow.org/HELP/Join_the_...st_by_state.pl

                          I used to donate blood in Italy, but, as a European, here in the US I cannot - I think because of fears of mad cow disease.

                          cacio

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