Published Date: March 22, 2001

Full Text Article

Southwestern Athabaskan (Navajo and Apache) genetic diseases

Authors: R P Erickson

Genet Med. 1999 May-Jun;1(4):151-7. doi: 10.1097/00125817-199905000-00007.


PURPOSE: Four apparently unique disorders are known among the Southwestern Athabasan Amerindians, i.e., the Navajo and Apache; they are Athabaskan severe combined immunodeficiency, Navajo neuropathy, Navajo poikiloderma, and Athabaskan brainstem dysgenesis. This study reviews background information on Athabaskan groups and clinical descriptions of these recessive disorders.

METHODS: The major clinical findings of these four disorders are reviewed. In addition, the findings of epidemiological surveys are included where available.

RESULTS: Although the importance of genetic bottlenecks in increasing the frequency of rare, sometimes unique, autosomal recessive disorders is known for a number of populations, similar phenomena among Native Americans seem to be less well known.

CONCLUSION: As many more Native Americans move off the Reservation, the awareness of susceptibility to particular genetic diseases needs to be more widely disseminated.

PMID: 11258351DOI: 10.1097/00125817-199905000-00007