Population analysis of the collagen type IIα1 3' variable number of tandem repeat polymorphism by heteroduplex genotyping

André G. Uitterlinden*, Qiuju Huang, Huibert A.P. Pols, Johannes P.T.M. Van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The AT-rich variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) marker at the 3' end of the collagen type IIα1 (COL2A1) gene has been shown to have a complex structure with extensive sequence variations among repeat units. We analyzed this VNTR polymorphism in a large population of 972 Caucasian individuals with a genotyping procedure involving heteroduplex analysis of PCR products using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Seven size alleles were identified, combining to 19 different homoduplex genotypes (heterozygosity = 0.64). These could be further dissected by analysis of heteroduplexes into 85 different heteroduplex genotypes (heterozygosity = 0.84). By systematically heteroduplexing homozygous and heterozygous individuals in vitro, characteristic heteroduplex doublet bands were generated of known allelic composition. A comparison of these doublets with heteroduplex patterns observed in the population allowed us to identify 29 alleles. The degree of correspondence with a different COL2A1 VNTR genotyping system, based on size separation of single-strand VNTR alleles, was investigated by the analysis of samples typed with both methods, including samples from reference CEPH pedigrees. This revealed improved genetic resolution by the heteroduplex method including discrimination of frequent alleles considered identical by the single-strand analysis. Our findings demonstrate heteroduplex analysis of the COL2A1 VNTR to be a robust and highly informative genetic marker system. The documented increased genetic variability has important implications in forensic and paternity testing, as well as in linkage and association studies relating genetic variation at this locus to disease endpoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-666
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1998


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