||We estimated the frequencies of serum butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) alleles in three tribes of Mapuche Indians from southern Chile, using enzymatic methods, and we estimated the frequency of allele BCHE*K in one tribe using primer reduced restriction analysis (PCR-PIRA). The three tribes have different degrees of European admixture, which is reflected in the observed frequencies of the atypical allele BCHE*A: 1.11% in Huilliches, 0.89% in Cuncos, and 0% in Pehuenches. This result is evidence in favor of the hypothesis that BCHE*A is absent in native Amerindians. The frequencies of BCHE*F were higher than in most reported studies (3.89%, 5.78%, and 4.41%, respectively). These results are probably due to an overestimation of the frequency of allele BCHE*F, since none of the 20 BCHE UF individuals (by the enzymatic test) individuals analyzed showed either of the two DNA base substitutions associated with this allele. Although enzymatic methods rarely detect the presence of allele BCHE*K, PCR-PIRA found the allele in an appreciable frequency (5.76%), although lower than that found in other ethnic groups. Since observed frequencies of unusual alleles correspond to estimated percentages of European admixture, it is likely that none of these unusual alleles were present in Mapuche Indians before the arrival of Europeans. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.