CYP2A6 is a polymorphic enzyme, and CYP2A6 genotype has been shown to be associated with smoking habits and lung cancer. We investigated CYP2A6 polymorphism in Japanese from four different geographic areas of Japan and in the Ovambo and Turk populations. Using two polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphisms (PCR-RFLPs), we identified the functionally important variants of CYP2A6: *1A, *1B, *1F, *1G, *4A, and *4D. In the Japanese population the highest frequencies of the CYP2A6*1A allele were observed in subjects from the Fukuoka (Kyushu Island) and Ehime (Shikoku Island) prefectures, whereas subjects in Shimane and Tottori (both located on the Japan Sea side of Honshu Island) showed the highest frequencies of the CYP2A6*1B allele. In the Tottori and Shimane groups no subject was homozygous for the CYP2A6*4A allele, a whole gene deletion type that is prevalent among Asians. In the Ovambo and Turk populations the CYP2A6*1A allele was predominant. Furthermore, two alleles undetected in the Japanese were observed in these latter two ethnic groups: CYP2A6*1G was found solely in the Ovambos, and CYP2A6*1F was found solely in the Turks. The present study is the first to show interprefecture differences in CYP2A6 polymorphism in Japanese who live in relatively close but distinct geographic areas; this is also the first study to evaluate CYP2A6 variations among these Japanese and the Ovambo and Turk populations. The distribution results of these alleles could help to define the true significance of CYP2A6 polymorphism as a genetic susceptibility marker in worldwide populations.
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Vol. 78 • No. 2