A paper by a multidisciplinary team of scientists affiliated with various Brazilian institutions, including the University of São Paulo (USP) and the National Cancer Institute (INCA), shows that people of African descent are less likely to find a donor in the National Register of Voluntary Bone Marrow Donors (REDOME) than people with predominantly European ancestry. The paper is published in Frontiers in Immunology.
REDOME is the world’s third-largest bone marrow bank, with more than 5 million registered voluntary donors.
According to the study, having mainly African genetic ancestry can reduce a person’s chances of finding a donor by up to 60%, and having African copies of HLA genes, which must be compatible with the donor’s to make a transplant possible, can reduce them by 75%.
As the degree of African ancestry increases, the likelihood of finding a match on REDOME decreases, according to the study, which also discusses what the authors argue is a weak correlation between self-identification in accordance with the categories used by IBGE, the national census bureau, and actual genetic ancestry. IBGE’s classification “explains only a small amount” of people’s ancestry, they write.
The classification is coarse in terms of predicting the genes that matter for transplants, which are the immune function genes, but it’s used by REDOME. Donors have to choose one of these categories when they fill out the registration form. A person can be of African or European ancestry in terms of immune function genes, but the identifiers ‘black’, ‘brown’ and ‘white’ don’t really line up with those categories.”…
From News-Medical -