The wide variety of disease associations reported at the TNF locus raises the question of how much variation exists within a single population. To address this question, we sequenced the entire TNF gene in 72 chromosomes from healthy residents of a village in The Gambia, West Africa. We found 12 polymorphisms in 4393 nucleotides, of which five have not been previously described, giving an estimated nucleotide diversity (theta) of 5.6 x 10(-4). A significantly higher frequency of polymorphisms was found in the promoter region than in the coding region (8/1256 vs 0/882 nucleotides, P = 0.02). All polymorphisms with the exception of one rare allele were found to be present in Malawi, which is both geographically and genetically distant from The Gambia. Genotyping of 424 Gambian and 121 Malawian adults showed a significant frequency difference between the two populations for eight of the 12 polymorphisms, but the average fixation index across the variable sites was relatively low (F(ST) = 0.007). We conclude that, at the TNF locus, the nucleotide diversity found within a single African village is similar to the global value for human autosomal genes sampled across different continents.


Journal article


Genes Immun

Publication Date





343 - 348