Galactokinase: Evidence for a New Racial Polymorphism

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Science  13 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4057, pp. 176-178
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4057.176


Activities of galactokinase and galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase in red cells were assayed in a mixed racial population of 645 pregnant women. The distribution of individual transferase activities for black subjects was the same as that for whites. In contrast, the distributions of individual galactokinase activities differed significantly in blacks and whites, the mean for the black population being 30 percent lower than the mean for the white population. The same racial difference was found when red cell galactokinase activity was examined in males and in newborns. Because low-, intermediate-, and high-galactokinase activities appear to segregate within several black families, this observed difference suggests a new, racially determined enzyme polymorphism.