The VKORC1 Asp36Tyr variant and VKORC1 haplotype diversity in Ashkenazi and Ethiopian populations

Sophia Sominsky, Michael Korostishevsky, Daniel Kurnik, Eleni Aklillu, Yoram Cohen, Gie Ken-Dror, Ronen Loebstein, Hillel Halkin, Eva Gak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKORC1) is a key enzyme in the vitamin K cycle impacting various biological processes. VKORC1 genetic variability has been extensively studied in the context of warfarin pharmacogenetics revealing different distributions of VKORC1 haplotypes in various populations. We previously identified the VKORC1 Asp36Tyr mutation that was associated with warfarin resistance and with distinctive ethnic distribution. In this study, we performed haplotype analysis using Asp36Tyr and seven other VKORC1 markers in Ashkenazi and Ethiopian-Jewish and non-Jewish individuals. The VKORC1 variability was represented by nine haplotypes (V1-V9) that could be grouped into two distinct clusters (V1-V3 and V4-V9) with intra-cluster difference limited to two nucleotide changes. Phylogeny analysis suggested that these haplotypes could have developed from an ancestral variant, the common V8 haplotype (40 % in all population samples), after ten single mutation events. Asp36Tyr was exclusive to the V5 haplotype of the second cluster. Two haplotypes V5 and V4, distinguished only by Asp36Tyr, were prevalent in both Ethiopian population samples. The V2 haplotype, belonging to the first cluster, was the second most prevalent haplotype in the Ashkenazi population sample (15.8 %) but relatively uncommon in the Ethiopian origin (4.5-4.7 %). We discuss the genetic diversity among studied populations and its potential impact on warfarin-dose management in certain populations of African and European origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


FundersFunder number
Israeli Ministry of Industry Nofar39410


    • Allele frequencies
    • Gene flow
    • Haplotype analysis
    • Population genetics
    • Warfarin (Coumarin) resistance


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