Pigmentation is a readily scorable and quantitative human phenotype, making it an excellent model for studying multifactorial traits and diseases. Convergent human evolution from the ancestral state, darker skin, towards lighter skin colors involved divergent genetic mechanisms in people of European vs. East Asian ancestry. It is striking that the European mechanisms result in a 10–20-fold increase in skin cancer susceptibility while the East Asian mechanisms do not. Towards the mapping of genes that contribute to East Asian pigmentation there is need for one or more populations that are admixed for ancestral and East Asian ancestry, but with minimal European contribution. This requirement is fulfilled by the Senoi, one of three indigenous tribes of Peninsular Malaysia collectively known as the Orang Asli. The Senoi are thought to be an admixture of the Negrito, an ancestral dark-skinned population representing the second of three Orang Asli tribes, and regional Mongoloid populations of Indo-China such as the Proto-Malay, the third Orang Asli tribe. We have calculated skin reflectance-based melanin indices in 492 Orang Asli, which ranged from 28 (lightest) to 75 (darkest); both extremes were represented in the Senoi. Population averages were 56 for Negrito, 42 for Proto-Malay, and 46 for Senoi. The derived allele frequencies for SLC24A5 and SLC45A2 in the Senoi were 0.04 and 0.02, respectively, consistent with greater South Asian than European admixture. Females and individuals with the A111T mutation had significantly lighter skin (p = 0.001 and 0.0039, respectively). Individuals with these derived alleles were found across the spectrum of skin color, indicating an overriding effect of strong skin lightening alleles of East Asian origin. These results suggest that the Senoi are suitable for mapping East Asian skin color genes.
India is a country with enormous social and cultural diversity due to its positioning on the crossroads of many historic and pre-historic human migrations. The hierarchical caste system in the Hindu society dominates the social structure of the Indian populations. The origin of the caste system in India is a matter of debate with many linguists and anthropologists suggesting that it began with the arrival of Indo-European speakers from Central Asia about 3500 years ago. Previous genetic studies based on Indian populations failed to achieve a consensus in this regard. We analysed the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA of three tribal populations of southern India, compared the results with available data from the Indian subcontinent and tried to reconstruct the evolutionary history of Indian caste and tribal populations.
No significant difference was observed in the mitochondrial DNA between Indian tribal and caste populations, except for the presence of a higher frequency of west Eurasian-specific haplogroups in the higher castes, mostly in the north western part of India. On the other hand, the study of the Indian Y lineages revealed distinct distribution patterns among caste and tribal populations. The paternal lineages of Indian lower castes showed significantly closer affinity to the tribal populations than to the upper castes. The frequencies of deep-rooted Y haplogroups such as M89, M52, and M95 were higher in the lower castes and tribes, compared to the upper castes.
The present study suggests that the vast majority (>98%) of the Indian maternal gene pool, consisting of Indio-European and Dravidian speakers, is genetically more or less uniform. Invasions after the late Pleistocene settlement might have been mostly male-mediated. However, Y-SNP data provides compelling genetic evidence for a tribal origin of the lower caste populations in the subcontinent. Lower caste groups might have originated with the hierarchical divisions that arose within the tribal groups with the spread of Neolithic agriculturalists, much earlier than the arrival of Aryan speakers. The Indo-Europeans established themselves as upper castes among this already developed caste-like class structure within the tribes.
Previous genetic, anthropological and linguistic studies have shown that Roma (Gypsies) constitute a founder population dispersed throughout Europe whose origins might be traced to the Indian subcontinent. Linguistic and anthropological evidence point to Indo-Aryan ethnic groups from North-western India as the ancestral parental population of Roma. Recently, a strong genetic hint supporting this theory came from a study of a private mutation causing primary congenital glaucoma. In the present study, complete mitochondrial control sequences of Iberian Roma and previously published maternal lineages of other European Roma were analyzed in order to establish the genetic affinities among Roma groups, determine the degree of admixture with neighbouring populations, infer the migration routes followed since the first arrival to Europe, and survey the origin of Roma within the Indian subcontinent. Our results show that the maternal lineage composition in the Roma groups follows a pattern of different migration routes, with several founder effects, and low effective population sizes along their dispersal. Our data allowed the confirmation of a North/West migration route shared by Polish, Lithuanian and Iberian Roma. Additionally, eleven Roma founder lineages were identified and degrees of admixture with host populations were estimated. Finally, the comparison with an extensive database of Indian sequences allowed us to identify the Punjab state, in North-western India, as the putative ancestral homeland of the European Roma, in agreement with previous linguistic and anthropological studies.
Common genetic risk variants for type 2 diabetes (T2D) have primarily been identified in populations of European and Asian ancestry. We tested whether the direction of association with 20 T2D risk variants generalizes across six major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. as part of the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology Consortium (16,235 diabetes case and 46,122 control subjects of European American, African American, Hispanic, East Asian, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian ancestry). The percentage of positive (odds ratio [OR] >1 for putative risk allele) associations ranged from 69% in American Indians to 100% in European Americans. Of the nine variants where we observed significant heterogeneity of effect by racial/ethnic group (Pheterogeneity < 0.05), eight were positively associated with risk (OR >1) in at least five groups. The marked directional consistency of association observed for most genetic variants across populations implies a shared functional common variant in each region. Fine-mapping of all loci will be required to reveal markers of risk that are important within and across populations.
Ancestry-informative markers (AIMs) show high allele frequency divergence between different ancestral or geographically distant populations. These genetic markers are especially useful in inferring the likely ancestral origin of an individual or estimating the apportionment of ancestry components in admixed individuals or populations. The study of AIMs is of great interest in clinical genetics research, particularly to detect and correct for population substructure effects in case-control association studies, but also in population and forensic genetics studies.
This work presents a set of 46 ancestry-informative insertion deletion polymorphisms selected to efficiently measure population admixture proportions of four different origins (African, European, East Asian and Native American). All markers are analyzed in short fragments (under 230 basepairs) through a single PCR followed by capillary electrophoresis (CE) allowing a very simple one tube PCR-to-CE approach.
HGDP-CEPH diversity panel samples from the four groups, together with Oceanians, were genotyped to evaluate the efficiency of the assay in clustering populations from different continental origins and to establish reference databases. In addition, other populations from diverse geographic origins were tested using the HGDP-CEPH samples as reference data. The results revealed that the AIM-INDEL set developed is highly efficient at inferring the ancestry of individuals and provides good estimates of ancestry proportions at the population level.
In conclusion, we have optimized the multiplexed genotyping of 46 AIM-INDELs in a simple and informative assay, enabling a more straightforward alternative to the commonly available AIM-SNP typing methods dependent on complex, multi-step protocols or implementation of large-scale genotyping technologies.
Several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have demonstrated that common genetic variants contribute to obesity. However, studies of this complex trait have focused on ancestrally European populations, despite the high prevalence of obesity in some minority groups. As part of the ‘Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE)’ Consortium, we investigated the association between thirteen GWAS-identified SNPs and BMI and obesity in 69,775 subjects, including 6,149 American Indians, 15,415 African-Americans, 2,438 East Asians, 7,346 Hispanics, 604 Pacific Islanders, and 37,823 European Americans. For the BMI-increasing allele of each SNP, we calculated beta coefficients using linear regression (for BMI) and risk estimates using logistic regression (for obesity defined as BMI ≥ 30) followed by fixed-effects meta-analysis to combine results across PAGE sites. Analyses stratified by racial/ethnic group assumed an additive genetic model and adjusted for age, sex, and current smoking. We defined “replicating SNPs” (in European Americans) and “generalizing SNPs” (in other racial/ethnic groups) as those associated with an allele frequency-specific increase in BMI. By this definition, we replicated 9/13 SNP associations (5 out of 8 loci) in European Americans. We also generalized 8/13 SNP associations (5/8 loci) in East Asians, 7/13 (5/8 loci) in African Americans, 6/13 (4/8 loci) in Hispanics, 5/8 in Pacific Islanders (5/8 loci), and 5/9 (4/8 loci) in American Indians. Linkage disequilibrium patterns suggest that tagSNPs selected for European Americans may not adequately tag causal variants in other ancestry groups. Accordingly, fine-mapping in large samples is needed to comprehensively explore these loci in diverse populations.
Africa is the source of all modern humans, but characterization of genetic variation and of relationships among populations across the continent has been enigmatic. We studied 121 African populations, four African American populations, and 60 non-African populations for patterns of variation at 1327 nuclear microsatellite and insertion/deletion markers. We identified 14 ancestral population clusters in Africa that correlate with self-described ethnicity and shared cultural and/or linguistic properties. We observed high levels of mixed ancestry in most populations, reflecting historical migration events across the continent. Our data also provide evidence for shared ancestry among geographically diverse hunter-gatherer populations (Khoesan speakers and Pygmies). The ancestry of African Americans is predominantly from Niger-Kordofanian (~71%), European (~13%), and other African (~8%) populations, although admixture levels varied considerably among individuals. This study helps tease apart the complex evolutionary history of Africans and African Americans, aiding both anthropological and genetic epidemiologic studies.
Major population movements, social structure, and caste endogamy have influenced the genetic structure of Indian populations. An understanding of these influences is increasingly important as gene mapping and case-control studies are initiated in South Indian populations.
We report new data on 155 individuals from four Tamil caste populations of South India and perform comparative analyses with caste populations from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh. Genetic differentiation among Tamil castes is low (RST = 0.96% for 45 autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers), reflecting a largely common origin. Nonetheless, caste- and continent-specific patterns are evident. For 32 lineage-defining Y-chromosome SNPs, Tamil castes show higher affinity to Europeans than to eastern Asians, and genetic distance estimates to the Europeans are ordered by caste rank. For 32 lineage-defining mitochondrial SNPs and hypervariable sequence (HVS) 1, Tamil castes have higher affinity to eastern Asians than to Europeans. For 45 autosomal STRs, upper and middle rank castes show higher affinity to Europeans than do lower rank castes from either Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Local between-caste variation (Tamil Nadu RST = 0.96%, Andhra Pradesh RST = 0.77%) exceeds the estimate of variation between these geographically separated groups (RST = 0.12%). Low, but statistically significant, correlations between caste rank distance and genetic distance are demonstrated for Tamil castes using Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal data.
Genetic data from Y-chromosome, mtDNA, and autosomal STRs are in accord with historical accounts of northwest to southeast population movements in India. The influence of ancient and historical population movements and caste social structure can be detected and replicated in South Indian caste populations from two different geographic regions.
The population genetic structure of Native Hawaiians has yet to be comprehensively studied, and the ancestral origins of Polynesians remain in question. In this study, we utilized high-resolution genome-wide SNP data and mitochondrial genomes of 148 and 160 Native Hawaiians, respectively, to characterize their population structure of the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, ancestral origins, and population expansion. Native Hawaiians, who self-reported full Native Hawaiian heritage, demonstrated 78% Native Hawaiian, 11.5% European, and 7.8% Asian ancestry with 99% belonging to the B4 mitochondrial haplogroup. The estimated proportions of Native Hawaiian ancestry for those who reported mixed ancestry (i.e. 75% and 50% Native Hawaiian heritage) were found to be consistent with their self-reported heritage. A significant proportion of Melanesian ancestry (mean = 32%) was estimated in 100% self-reported Native Hawaiians in an ADMIXTURE analysis of Asian, Melanesian, and Native Hawaiian populations of K = 2, where K denotes the number of ancestral populations. This notable proportion of Melanesian admixture supports the “Slow-Boat” model of migration of ancestral Polynesian populations from East Asia to the Pacific Islands. In addition, approximately 1,300 years ago a single, strong expansion of the Native Hawaiian population was estimated. By providing important insight into the underlying population structure of Native Hawaiians, this study lays the foundation for future genetic association studies of this U.S. minority population.
Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent represent an area considered as a source and a reservoir for human genetic diversity, with many markers taking root here, most of which are the ancestral state of eastern and western haplogroups, while others are local. Between these two regions, Terai (Nepal) is a pivotal passageway allowing, in different times, multiple population interactions, although because of its highly malarial environment, it was scarcely inhabited until a few decades ago, when malaria was eradicated. One of the oldest and the largest indigenous people of Terai is represented by the malaria resistant Tharus, whose gene pool could still retain traces of ancient complex interactions. Until now, however, investigations on their genetic structure have been scarce mainly identifying East Asian signatures.
High-resolution analyses of mitochondrial-DNA (including 34 complete sequences) and Y-chromosome (67 SNPs and 12 STRs) variations carried out in 173 Tharus (two groups from Central and one from Eastern Terai), and 104 Indians (Hindus from Terai and New Delhi and tribals from Andhra Pradesh) allowed the identification of three principal components: East Asian, West Eurasian and Indian, the last including both local and inter-regional sub-components, at least for the Y chromosome.
Although remarkable quantitative and qualitative differences appear among the various population groups and also between sexes within the same group, many mitochondrial-DNA and Y-chromosome lineages are shared or derived from ancient Indian haplogroups, thus revealing a deep shared ancestry between Tharus and Indians. Interestingly, the local Y-chromosome Indian component observed in the Andhra-Pradesh tribals is present in all Tharu groups, whereas the inter-regional component strongly prevails in the two Hindu samples and other Nepalese populations.
The complete sequencing of mtDNAs from unresolved haplogroups also provided informative markers that greatly improved the mtDNA phylogeny and allowed the identification of ancient relationships between Tharus and Malaysia, the Andaman Islands and Japan as well as between India and North and East Africa. Overall, this study gives a paradigmatic example of the importance of genetic isolates in revealing variants not easily detectable in the general population.
African American men have the highest prostate cancer morbidity and mortality rates than any other racial or ethnic group in the US. Although the overall incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer has been declining in White men since 1991, the decline in African American men lags behind White men. Of particular concern is the growing literature on the disproportionate burden of prostate cancer among other Black men of West African ancestry in the Caribbean Islands, United Kingdom and West Africa. This higher incidence of prostate cancer observed in populations of African descent may be attributed to the fact that these populations share ancestral genetic factors. To better understand the burden of prostate cancer among men of West African Ancestry, we conducted a review of the literature on prostate cancer incidence, prevalence, and mortality in the countries connected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Several published studies indicate high prostate cancer burden in Nigeria and Ghana. There was no published literature for the countries Benin, Gambia and Senegal that met our review criteria. Prostate cancer morbidity and/or mortality data from the Caribbean Islands and the United Kingdom also provided comparable or worse prostate cancer burden to that of US Blacks.
The growing literature on the disproportionate burden of prostate cancer among other Black men of West African ancestry follows the path of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. To better understand and address the global prostate cancer disparities seen in Black men of West African ancestry, future studies should explore the genetic and environmental risk factors for prostate cancer among this group.
OBJECTIVE—Using the genome-wide association approach, we recently identified the glucokinase regulatory protein gene (GCKR, rs780094) region as a novel quantitative trait locus for plasma triglyceride concentration in Europeans. Here, we sought to study the association of GCKR variants with metabolic phenotypes, including measures of glucose homeostasis, to evaluate the GCKR locus in samples of non-European ancestry and to fine- map across the associated genomic interval.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We performed association studies in 12 independent cohorts comprising >45,000 individuals representing several ancestral groups (whites from Northern and Southern Europe, whites from the U.S., African Americans from the U.S., Hispanics of Caribbean origin, and Chinese, Malays, and Asian Indians from Singapore). We conducted genetic fine-mapping across the ∼417-kb region of linkage disequilibrium spanning GCKR and 16 other genes on chromosome 2p23 by imputing untyped HapMap single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genotyping 104 SNPs across the associated genomic interval.
RESULTS—We provide comprehensive evidence that GCKR rs780094 is associated with opposite effects on fasting plasma triglyceride (Pmeta = 3 × 10−56) and glucose (Pmeta = 1 × 10−13) concentrations. In addition, we confirmed recent reports that the same SNP is associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) level (P = 5 × 10−5). Both fine-mapping approaches revealed a common missense GCKR variant (rs1260326, Pro446Leu, 34% frequency, r2 = 0.93 with rs780094) as the strongest association signal in the region.
CONCLUSIONS—These findings point to a molecular mechanism in humans by which higher triglycerides and CRP can be coupled with lower plasma glucose concentrations and position GCKR in central pathways regulating both hepatic triglyceride and glucose metabolism.
Northeast India, the only region which currently forms a land bridge between the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, has been proposed as an important corridor for the initial peopling of East Asia. Given that the Austro-Asiatic linguistic family is considered to be the oldest and spoken by certain tribes in India, Northeast India and entire Southeast Asia, we expect that populations of this family from Northeast India should provide the signatures of genetic link between Indian and Southeast Asian populations. In order to test this hypothesis, we analyzed mtDNA and Y-Chromosome SNP and STR data of the eight groups of the Austro-Asiatic Khasi from Northeast India and the neighboring Garo and compared with that of other relevant Asian populations. The results suggest that the Austro-Asiatic Khasi tribes of Northeast India represent a genetic continuity between the populations of South and Southeast Asia, thereby advocating that northeast India could have been a major corridor for the movement of populations from India to East/Southeast Asia.
Genetic structure due to ancestry has been well documented among many divergent human populations. However, the ability to associate ancestry with genetic substructure without using supervised clustering has not been explored in more presumably homogeneous and admixed US populations. The goal of this study was to determine if genetic structure could be detected in a United States population from a single state where the individuals have mixed European ancestry. Using Bayesian clustering with a set of 960 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) we found evidence of population stratification in 864 individuals from New Hampshire that can be used to differentiate the population into six distinct genetic subgroups. We then correlated self-reported ancestry of the individuals with the Bayesian clustering results. Finnish and Russian/Polish/Lithuanian ancestries were most notably found to be associated with genetic substructure. The ancestral results were further explained and substantiated using New Hampshire census data from 1870 to 1930 when the largest waves of European immigrants came to the area. We also discerned distinct patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between the genetic groups in the growth hormone receptor gene (GHR). To our knowledge, this is the first time such an investigation has uncovered a strong link between genetic structure and ancestry in what would otherwise be considered a homogenous US population.
Sequences of the first hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region were obtained from 353 individuals representing nine groups and four major linguistic families (Indo-European, Altaic and North and South Caucasian) of the Caucasus region. The diversity within and between Caucasus populations exceeded the diversity within Europe, but was less than that in the Near East. Caucasus populations occupy an intermediate position between European and Near Eastern populations in tree and principal coordinate analyses, suggesting that they are either ancestral to European populations or derived via admixture from European and Near Eastern populations. The genetic relationships among Caucasus populations reflect geographical rather than linguistic relationships. In particular, the Indo-European-speaking Armenians and Altaic-speaking Azerbaijanians are most closely related to their nearest geographical neighbours in the Caucasus, not their linguistic neighbours (i.e. other Indo-European or Altaic populations). The mtDNA evidence thus suggests that the Armenian and Azerbaijanian languages represent instances of language replacement that had little impact on the mtDNA gene pool.
The geographical region between mainland Asia and New Guinea is characterized by numerous small islands with isolated human populations. Phenotypically, groups in the west are similar to their neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia, eastern groups near New Guinea are similar to Melanesians, and intervening populations are intermediate in appearance. A long-standing question is whether this pattern primarily reflects mixing between groups with distinct origins or whether natural selection has shaped this range of variation by acting differentially on populations across the region. To address this question, we genotyped a set of 37 single nucleotide polymorphisms that are evolutionarily independent, putatively neutral and highly informative for Asian–Melanesian ancestry in 1430 individuals from 60 populations spanning mainland Asia to Melanesia. Admixture analysis reveals a sharp transition from Asian to Melanesian genetic variants over a narrow geographical region in eastern Indonesia. Interestingly, this admixture cline roughly corresponds to the human phenotypic boundary noted by Alfred Russell Wallace in 1869. We conclude that this phenotypic gradient probably reflects mixing of two long-separated ancestral source populations—one descended from the initial Melanesian-like inhabitants of the region, and the other related to Asian groups that immigrated during the Paleolithic and/or with the spread of agriculture. A higher frequency of Asian X-linked markers relative to autosomal markers throughout the transition zone suggests that the admixture process was sex-biased, either favouring a westward expansion of patrilocal Melanesian groups or an eastward expansion of matrilocal Asian immigrants. The matrilocal marriage practices that dominated early Austronesian societies may be one factor contributing to this observed sex bias in admixture rates.
admixture; sex-biased; ancestry; Indonesia; Austronesian
We have examined genetic diversity at fifteen autosomal microsatellite loci in seven predominant populations of Orissa to decipher whether populations inhabiting the same geographic region can be differentiated on the basis of language or ancestry. The studied populations have diverse historical accounts of their origin, belong to two major ethnic groups and different linguistic families. Caucasoid caste populations are speakers of Indo-European language and comprise Brahmins, Khandayat, Karan and Gope, while the three Australoid tribal populations include two Austric speakers: Juang and Saora and a Dravidian speaking population, Paroja. These divergent groups provide a varied substratum for understanding variation of genetic patterns in a geographical area resulting from differential admixture between migrants groups and aboriginals, and the influence of this admixture on population stratification.
The allele distribution pattern showed uniformity in the studied groups with approximately 81% genetic variability within populations. The coefficient of gene differentiation was found to be significantly higher in tribes (0.014) than caste groups (0.004). Genetic variance between the groups was 0.34% in both ethnic and linguistic clusters and statistically significant only in the ethnic apportionment. Although the populations were genetically close (FST = 0.010), the contemporary caste and tribal groups formed distinct clusters in both Principal-Component plot and Neighbor-Joining tree. In the phylogenetic tree, the Orissa Brahmins showed close affinity to populations of North India, while Khandayat and Gope clustered with the tribal groups, suggesting a possibility of their origin from indigenous people.
The extent of genetic differentiation in the contemporary caste and tribal groups of Orissa is highly significant and constitutes two distinct genetic clusters. Based on our observations, we suggest that since genetic distances and coefficient of gene differentiation were fairly small, the studied populations are indeed genetically similar and that the genetic structure of populations in a geographical region is primarily influenced by their ancestry and not by socio-cultural hierarchy or language. The scenario of genetic structure, however, might be different for other regions of the subcontinent where populations have more similar ethnic and linguistic backgrounds and there might be variations in the patterns of genomic and socio-cultural affinities in different geographical regions.
Tibeto-Burman populations of India provide an insight into the peopling of India and aid in understanding their genetic relationship with populations of East, South and Southeast Asia. The study investigates the genetic status of one such Tibeto-Burman group, Adi of Arunachal Pradesh based on 15 autosomal microsatellite markers. Further the study examines, based on 9 common microsatellite loci, the genetic relationship of Adi with 16 other Tibeto-Burman speakers of India and 28 neighboring populations of East and Southeast Asia. Overall, the results support the recent formation of the Adi sub-tribes from a putative ancestral group and reveal that geographic contiguity is a major influencing factor of the genetic affinity among the Tibeto-Burman populations of India.
Identifying the ancestry of chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry has a wide range of applications from disease mapping to learning about history. Most methods require the use of unlinked markers; but, using all markers from genome-wide scanning arrays, it should in principle be possible to infer the ancestry of even very small segments with exquisite accuracy. We describe a method, HAPMIX, which employs an explicit population genetic model to perform such local ancestry inference based on fine-scale variation data. We show that HAPMIX outperforms other methods, and we explore its utility for inferring ancestry, learning about ancestral populations, and inferring dates of admixture. We validate the method empirically by applying it to populations that have experienced recent and ancient admixture: 935 African Americans from the United States and 29 Mozabites from North Africa. HAPMIX will be of particular utility for mapping disease genes in recently admixed populations, as its accurate estimates of local ancestry permit admixture and case-control association signals to be combined, enabling more powerful tests of association than with either signal alone.
The genomes of individuals from admixed populations consist of chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. For example, the genomes of African American individuals contain segments of both African and European ancestry, so that a specific location in the genome may inherit 0, 1, or 2 copies of European ancestry. Inferring an individual's local ancestry, their number of copies of each ancestry at each location in the genome, has important applications in disease mapping and in understanding human history. Here we describe HAPMIX, a method that analyzes data from dense genotyping chips to infer local ancestry with very high precision. An important feature of HAPMIX is that it makes use of data from haplotypes (blocks of nearby markers), which are more informative for ancestry than individual markers. Our simulations demonstrate the utility of HAPMIX for local ancestry inference, and empirical applications to African American and Mozabite data sets uncover important aspects of the history of these populations.
The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family, which is considered to be the oldest of all the families in India, has a substantial presence in Southeast Asia. However, the possibility of any genetic link among the linguistic sub-families of the Indian Austro-Asiatics on the one hand and between the Indian and the Southeast Asian Austro-Asiatics on the other has not been explored till now. Therefore, to trace the origin and historic expansion of Austro-Asiatic groups of India, we analysed Y-chromosome SNP and STR data of the 1222 individuals from 25 Indian populations, covering all the three branches of Austro-Asiatic tribes, viz. Mundari, Khasi-Khmuic and Mon-Khmer, along with the previously published data on 214 relevant populations from Asia and Oceania.
Our results suggest a strong paternal genetic link, not only among the subgroups of Indian Austro-Asiatic populations but also with those of Southeast Asia. However, maternal link based on mtDNA is not evident. The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP (95% C.I. 25,442 – 132,230) and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor. Subsequently, in the process of expansion, the Mon-Khmer populations from Southeast Asia seem to have migrated and colonized Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a much later point of time.
Our findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia.
Genetic variation influences differential vulnerability to addiction within populations. However, it remains unclear whether differences in frequencies of vulnerability alleles contribute to disparities between populations and to what extent ancestry correlates with differential exposure to environmental risk factors, including poverty and trauma.
The authors used 186 ancestry-informative markers to measure African ancestry in 407 addicts and 457 comparison subjects self-identified as African Americans. The reference group was 1,051 individuals from the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel, which includes 51 diverse populations representing most worldwide genetic diversity.
African Americans varied in degrees of African, European, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian genetic heritage. The overall level of African ancestry was actually smaller among cocaine, opiate, and alcohol addicts (proportion=0.76–0.78) than nonaddicted African American comparison subjects (proportion=0.81). African ancestry was associated with living in impoverished neighborhoods, a factor previously associated with risk. There was no association between African ancestry and exposure to childhood abuse or neglect, a factor that strongly predicted all types of addictions.
These results suggest that African genetic heritage does not increase the likelihood of genetic risk for addictions. They highlight the complex interrelation between genetic ancestry and social, economic, and environmental conditions and the strong relation of those factors to addiction. Studies of epidemiological samples characterized for genetic ancestry and social, psychological, demographic, economic, cultural, and historical factors are needed to better disentangle the effects of genetic and environmental factors underlying interpopulation differences in vulnerability to addiction and other health disparities.
Older Puerto Ricans living in the continental U.S. suffer from higher rates of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression compared to non-Hispanic White populations. Complex diseases, such as these, are likely due to multiple, potentially interacting, genetic, environmental and social risk factors. Presumably, many of these environmental and genetic risk factors are contextual. We reasoned that racial background may modify some of these risk factors and be associated with health disparities among Puerto Ricans. The contemporary Puerto Rican population is genetically heterogeneous and originated from three ancestral populations: European settlers, native Taíno Indians, and West Africans. This rich mixed ancestry of Puerto Ricans provides the intrinsic variability needed to untangle complex gene-environment interactions in disease susceptibility and severity. Herein, we determined whether a specific ancestral background was associated with either of four major disease outcomes (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression). We estimated the genetic ancestry of 1129 subjects from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, based on genotypes of 100 ancestry informative markers (AIMs). We examined the effects of ancestry on tests of association between single AIMs and disease traits. The ancestral composition of this population was 57.2% European, 27.4% African, and 15.4% Native American. African ancestry was negatively associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and positively correlated with hypertension. It is likely that the high prevalence rate of diabetes in Africans, Hispanics, and Native Americans is not due to genetic variation alone, but to the combined effects of genetic variation interacting with environmental and social factors.
population admixture; Puerto Ricans; ancestry informative markers
The genetic structure, affinities, and diversity of the 1 billion Indians hold important keys to numerous unanswered questions regarding the evolution of human populations and the forces shaping contemporary patterns of genetic variation. Although there have been several recent studies of South Indian caste groups, North Indian caste groups, and South Indian Muslims using Y-chromosomal markers, overall, the Indian population has still not been well studied compared to other geographical populations. In particular, no genetic study has been conducted on Shias and Sunnis from North India.
This study aims to investigate genetic variation and the gene pool in North Indians.
Subjects and methods
A total of 32 Y-chromosomal markers in 560 North Indian males collected from three higher caste groups (Brahmins, Chaturvedis and Bhargavas) and two Muslims groups (Shia and Sunni) were genotyped.
Three distinct lineages were revealed based upon 13 haplogroups. The first was a Central Asian lineage harbouring haplogroups R1 and R2. The second lineage was of Middle-Eastern origin represented by haplogroups J2*, Shia-specific E1b1b1, and to some extent G* and L*. The third was the indigenous Indian Y-lineage represented by haplogroups H1*, F*, C* and O*. Haplogroup E1b1b1 was observed in Shias only.
The results revealed that a substantial part of today’s North Indian paternal gene pool was contributed by Central Asian lineages who are Indo-European speakers, suggesting that extant Indian caste groups are primarily the descendants of Indo-European migrants. The presence of haplogroup E in Shias, first reported in this study, suggests a genetic distinction between the two Indo Muslim sects. The findings of the present study provide insights into prehistoric and early historic patterns of migration into India and the evolution of Indian populations in recent history.
Paternal lineages; Y-chromosomal markers; North Indians; migration
The population of Trinidad and Tobago is composed mainly of people of East Indian (Indo-Trinidadians) and African (Afro-Trinidadians) ancestry. Differences in alcoholism rates exist between these two ethnic groups, and researchers have investigated whether these differences can be explained in part by variations in the genes encoding the alcohol-metabolizing enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) 1B and 1C, and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) 1 and 2. Studies have demonstrated that a certain variant of the gene encoding ADH1B (ADH1B*3) is associated with a reduced risk of alcoholism in Afro-Trinidadians, as is a variant of the gene encoding ADH1C (i.e., ADH1C*1) in Indo-Trinidadians. An ALDH2 variant shown to have protective effects primarily in East Asians was not found in either Trinidadian ethnic group. However, a variant in the gene encoding cytosolic ALDH1A (i.e. ALDH1A1*1/*2) was found to be associated with an increase in alcohol dependence in Indo-Trinidadians.
Alcoholism; alcohol dependence; alcohol disorders; Trinidad and Tobago; Indo-Trinidadians; Afro-Trinidadians; genetics and heredity; genetic polymorphisms; allele; ethnic groups; risk factors; protective factors; ethanol metabolism; alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH); aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); acetaldehyde; catalase; cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1)
We have analysed Y-chromosomal data from Indian caste, Indian tribal and East Asian populations in order to investigate the impact of the caste system on male genetic variation. We find that variation within populations is lower in India than in East Asia, while variation between populations is overall higher. This observation can be explained by greater subdivision within the Indian population, leading to more genetic drift. However, the effect is most marked in the tribal populations, and the level of variation between caste populations is similar to the level between Chinese populations. The caste system has therefore had a detectable impact on Y-chromosomal variation, but this has been less strong than the influence of the tribal system, perhaps because of larger population sizes in the castes, more gene flow or a shorter period of time.
Y chromosome; genetic variation; Indian caste system; endogamy; population substructure