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1.  Enhanced Statistical Tests for GWAS in Admixed Populations: Assessment using African Americans from CARe and a Breast Cancer Consortium 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(4):e1001371.
While genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have primarily examined populations of European ancestry, more recent studies often involve additional populations, including admixed populations such as African Americans and Latinos. In admixed populations, linkage disequilibrium (LD) exists both at a fine scale in ancestral populations and at a coarse scale (admixture-LD) due to chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. Disease association statistics in admixed populations have previously considered SNP association (LD mapping) or admixture association (mapping by admixture-LD), but not both. Here, we introduce a new statistical framework for combining SNP and admixture association in case-control studies, as well as methods for local ancestry-aware imputation. We illustrate the gain in statistical power achieved by these methods by analyzing data of 6,209 unrelated African Americans from the CARe project genotyped on the Affymetrix 6.0 chip, in conjunction with both simulated and real phenotypes, as well as by analyzing the FGFR2 locus using breast cancer GWAS data from 5,761 African-American women. We show that, at typed SNPs, our method yields an 8% increase in statistical power for finding disease risk loci compared to the power achieved by standard methods in case-control studies. At imputed SNPs, we observe an 11% increase in statistical power for mapping disease loci when our local ancestry-aware imputation framework and the new scoring statistic are jointly employed. Finally, we show that our method increases statistical power in regions harboring the causal SNP in the case when the causal SNP is untyped and cannot be imputed. Our methods and our publicly available software are broadly applicable to GWAS in admixed populations.
Author Summary
This paper presents improved methodologies for the analysis of genome-wide association studies in admixed populations, which are populations that came about by the mixing of two or more distant continental populations over a few hundred years (e.g., African Americans or Latinos). Studies of admixed populations offer the promise of capturing additional genetic diversity compared to studies over homogeneous populations such as Europeans. In admixed populations, correlation between genetic variants exists both at a fine scale in the ancestral populations and at a coarse scale due to chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. Disease association statistics in admixed populations have previously considered either one or the other type of correlation, but not both. In this work we develop novel statistical methods that account for both types of genetic correlation, and we show that the combined approach attains greater statistical power than that achieved by applying either approach separately. We provide analysis of simulated and real data from major studies performed in African-American men and women to show the improvement obtained by our methods over the standard methods for analyzing association studies in admixed populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001371
PMCID: PMC3080860  PMID: 21541012
2.  Admixture mapping of end stage kidney disease genetic susceptibility using estimated mutual information ancestry informative markers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2010;3:47.
Background
The question of a genetic contribution to the higher prevalence and incidence of end stage kidney disease (ESKD) among African Americans (AA) remained unresolved, until recent findings using admixture mapping pointed to the association of a genomic locus on chromosome 22 with this disease phenotype. In the current study we utilize this example to demonstrate the utility of applying a multi-step admixture mapping approach.
Methods
A multi-step case only admixture mapping study, consisted of the following steps was designed: 1) Assembly of the sample dataset (ESKD AA); 2) Design of the estimated mutual information ancestry informative markers (n = 2016) screening panel 3); Genotyping the sample set whose size was determined by a power analysis (n = 576) appropriate for the initial screening panel; 4) Inference of local ancestry for each individual and identification of regions with increased AA ancestry using two different ancestry inference statistical approaches; 5) Enrichment of the initial screening panel; 6) Power analysis of the enriched panel 7) Genotyping of additional samples. 8) Re-analysis of the genotyping results to identify a genetic risk locus.
Results
The initial screening phase yielded a significant peak using the ADMIXMAP ancestry inference program applying case only statistics. Subgroup analysis of 299 ESKD patients with no history of diabetes yielded peaks using both the ANCESTRYMAP and ADMIXMAP ancestry inference programs. The significant peak was found on chromosome 22. Genotyping of additional ancestry informative markers on chromosome 22 that took into account linkage disequilibrium in the ancestral populations, and the addition of samples increased the statistical significance of the finding.
Conclusions
A multi-step admixture mapping analysis of AA ESKD patients replicated the finding of a candidate risk locus on chromosome 22, contributing to the heightened susceptibility of African Americans to develop non-diabetic ESKD, and underscores the importance of using mutual information and multiple ancestry inference approaches to achieve a robust analysis, using relatively small datasets of "affected" only individuals. The current study suggests solutions to some limitations of existing admixture mapping methodologies, such as considerations regarding the distribution of ancestry information along the genome and its effects on power calculations and sample size.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-3-47
PMCID: PMC2975638  PMID: 20955568
3.  Lung Cancer Occurrence in Never-Smokers: An Analysis of 13 Cohorts and 22 Cancer Registry Studies  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e185.
Background
Better information on lung cancer occurrence in lifelong nonsmokers is needed to understand gender and racial disparities and to examine how factors other than active smoking influence risk in different time periods and geographic regions.
Methods and Findings
We pooled information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies, representing over 630,000 and 1.8 million persons for incidence and mortality, respectively. We also abstracted population-based data for women from 22 cancer registries and ten countries in time periods and geographic regions where few women smoked. Our main findings were: (1) Men had higher death rates from lung cancer than women in all age and racial groups studied; (2) male and female incidence rates were similar when standardized across all ages 40+ y, albeit with some variation by age; (3) African Americans and Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not in the US) had higher death rates from lung cancer than individuals of European descent; (4) no temporal trends were seen when comparing incidence and death rates among US women age 40–69 y during the 1930s to contemporary populations where few women smoke, or in temporal comparisons of never-smokers in two large American Cancer Society cohorts from 1959 to 2004; and (5) lung cancer incidence rates were higher and more variable among women in East Asia than in other geographic areas with low female smoking.
Conclusions
These comprehensive analyses support claims that the death rate from lung cancer among never-smokers is higher in men than in women, and in African Americans and Asians residing in Asia than in individuals of European descent, but contradict assertions that risk is increasing or that women have a higher incidence rate than men. Further research is needed on the high and variable lung cancer rates among women in Pacific Rim countries.
Michael Thun and colleagues pooled and analyzed comprehensive data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every year, more than 1.4 million people die from lung cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In the US alone, more than 161,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. Like all cancers, lung cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes in their genes. The main trigger for these changes in lung cancer is exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke—either directly through smoking cigarettes or indirectly through exposure to secondhand smoke. Eighty-five to 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke and, on average, current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than lifelong nonsmokers (never smokers). Furthermore, a person's cumulative lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is related to how much they smoke, to how many years they are a smoker, and—if they give up smoking—to the age at which they stop smoking.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because lung cancer is so common, even the small fraction of lung cancer that occurs in lifelong nonsmokers represents a large number of people. For example, about 20,000 of this year's US lung cancer deaths will be in never-smokers. However, very little is known about how age, sex, or race affects the incidence (the annual number of new cases of diseases in a population) or death rates from lung cancer among never-smokers. A better understanding of the patterns of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never-smokers could provide useful information about the factors other than cigarette smoke that increase the likelihood of not only never-smokers, but also former smokers and current smokers developing lung cancer. In this study, therefore, the researchers pooled and analyzed a large amount of information about lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers to examine what factors other than active smoking affect lung cancer risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed information on lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among nearly 2.5 million self-reported never smokers (men and women) from 13 large studies investigating the health of people in North America, Europe, and Asia. They also analyzed similar information for women taken from cancer registries in ten countries at times when very few women were smokers (for example, the US in the late 1930s). The researchers' detailed statistical analyses reveal, for example, that lung cancer death rates in African Americans and in Asians living in Korea and Japan (but not among Asians living in the US) are higher than those in people of the European continental ancestry group. They also show that men have higher death rates from lung cancer than women irrespective of racial group, but that women aged 40–59 years have a slightly higher incidence of lung cancer than men of a similar age. This difference disappears at older ages. Finally, an analysis of lung cancer incidence and death rates at different times during the past 70 years shows no evidence of an increase in the lung cancer burden among never smokers over time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some of the findings described above have been hinted at in previous, smaller studies, these and other findings provide a much more accurate picture of lung cancer incidence and death rates among never smokers. Most importantly the underlying data used in these analyses are now freely available and should provide an excellent resource for future studies of lung cancer in never smokers.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050185.
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals about all aspects of lung cancer and information on smoking and cancer (in English and Spanish)
Links to other US-based resources dealing with lung cancer are provided by MedlinePlus (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK provides key facts about the link between lung cancer and smoking and information about all other aspects of lung cancer
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050185
PMCID: PMC2531137  PMID: 18788891
4.  Admixture Mapping Scans Identify a Locus Affecting Retinal Vascular Caliber in Hypertensive African Americans: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(4):e1000908.
Retinal vascular caliber provides information about the structure and health of the microvascular system and is associated with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Compared to European Americans, African Americans tend to have wider retinal arteriolar and venular caliber, even after controlling for cardiovascular risk factors. This has suggested the hypothesis that differences in genetic background may contribute to racial/ethnic differences in retinal vascular caliber. Using 1,365 ancestry-informative SNPs, we estimated the percentage of African ancestry (PAA) and conducted genome-wide admixture mapping scans in 1,737 African Americans from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE) and central retinal vein equivalent (CRVE) representing summary measures of retinal arteriolar and venular caliber, respectively, were measured from retinal photographs. PAA was significantly correlated with CRVE (ρ = 0.071, P = 0.003), but not CRAE (ρ = 0.032, P = 0.182). Using admixture mapping, we did not detect significant admixture association with either CRAE (genome-wide score = −0.73) or CRVE (genome-wide score = −0.69). An a priori subgroup analysis among hypertensive individuals detected a genome-wide significant association of CRVE with greater African ancestry at chromosome 6p21.1 (genome-wide score = 2.31, locus-specific LOD = 5.47). Each additional copy of an African ancestral allele at the 6p21.1 peak was associated with an average increase in CRVE of 6.14 µm in the hypertensives, but had no significant effects in the non-hypertensives (P for heterogeneity <0.001). Further mapping in the 6p21.1 region may uncover novel genetic variants affecting retinal vascular caliber and further insights into the interaction between genetic effects of the microvascular system and hypertension.
Author Summary
Retinal vessels provide a window to microvascular systems elsewhere in the body. The diameter of retinal vessels varies between racial/ethnic groups, being generally wider in African Americans compared to European Americans. To determine whether genetic background may contribute to this observed difference, we scanned the entire genomes of 1,737 African Americans, searching for genomic regions where individuals with either wider retinal venular or narrower retinal arteriolar caliber have a difference from the average percentage of African ancestry. We find that the percentage of African ancestry is positively correlated with retinal venular caliber, particularly in the hypertensive individuals. We detect substantive evidence of association between excess African ancestry and wider retinal venular caliber on chromosome 6p21.1 in the hypertensives, but not in the non-hypertensives. The 6p21.1 region contains genes that are known to be involved in development and modulation and of retinal vessels. Our results suggest that genetic factors may contribute to the observed difference in retinal vascular caliber between African Americans and European Americans. Further fine-mapping studies of the genomic region may identify variants affecting retinal vascular caliber.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000908
PMCID: PMC2855324  PMID: 20419148
5.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Coronary Heart Disease and Its Risk Factors in 8,090 African Americans: The NHLBI CARe Project 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(2):e1001300.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in African Americans. To identify common genetic polymorphisms associated with CHD and its risk factors (LDL- and HDL-cholesterol (LDL-C and HDL-C), hypertension, smoking, and type-2 diabetes) in individuals of African ancestry, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 8,090 African Americans from five population-based cohorts. We replicated 17 loci previously associated with CHD or its risk factors in Caucasians. For five of these regions (CHD: CDKN2A/CDKN2B; HDL-C: FADS1-3, PLTP, LPL, and ABCA1), we could leverage the distinct linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns in African Americans to identify DNA polymorphisms more strongly associated with the phenotypes than the previously reported index SNPs found in Caucasian populations. We also developed a new approach for association testing in admixed populations that uses allelic and local ancestry variation. Using this method, we discovered several loci that would have been missed using the basic allelic and global ancestry information only. Our conclusions suggest that no major loci uniquely explain the high prevalence of CHD in African Americans. Our project has developed resources and methods that address both admixture- and SNP-association to maximize power for genetic discovery in even larger African-American consortia.
Author Summary
To date, most large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) carried out to identify risk factors for complex human diseases and traits have focused on population of European ancestry. It is currently unknown whether the same loci associated with complex diseases and traits in Caucasians will replicate in population of African ancestry. Here, we conducted a large GWAS to identify common DNA polymorphisms associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and its risk factors (type-2 diabetes, hypertension, smoking status, and LDL- and HDL-cholesterol) in 8,090 African Americans as part of the NHLBI Candidate gene Association Resource (CARe) Project. We replicated 17 associations previously reported in Caucasians, suggesting that the same loci carry common DNA sequence variants associated with CHD and its risk factors in Caucasians and African Americans. At five of these 17 loci, we used the different patterns of linkage disequilibrium between populations of European and African ancestry to identify DNA sequence variants more strongly associated with phenotypes than the index SNPs found in Caucasians, suggesting smaller genomic intervals to search for causal alleles. We also used the CARe data to develop new statistical methods to perform association studies in admixed populations. The CARe Project data represent an extraordinary resource to expand our understanding of the genetics of complex diseases and traits in non-European-derived populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001300
PMCID: PMC3037413  PMID: 21347282
6.  Joint Ancestry and Association Testing in Admixed Individuals 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(12):e1002325.
For samples of admixed individuals, it is possible to test for both ancestry effects via admixture mapping and genotype effects via association mapping. Here, we describe a joint test called BMIX that combines admixture and association statistics at single markers. We first perform high-density admixture mapping using local ancestry. We then perform association mapping using stratified regression, wherein for each marker genotypes are stratified by local ancestry. In both stages, we use generalized linear models, providing the advantage that the joint test can be used with any phenotype distribution with an appropriate link function. To define the alternative densities for admixture mapping and association mapping, we describe a method based on autocorrelation to empirically estimate the testing burdens of admixture mapping and association mapping. We then describe a joint test that uses the posterior probabilities from admixture mapping as prior probabilities for association mapping, capitalizing on the reduced testing burden of admixture mapping relative to association mapping. By simulation, we show that BMIX is potentially orders-of-magnitude more powerful than the MIX score, which is currently the most powerful frequentist joint test. We illustrate the gain in power through analysis of fasting plasma glucose among 922 unrelated, non-diabetic, admixed African Americans from the Howard University Family Study. We detected loci at 1q24 and 6q26 as genome-wide significant via admixture mapping; both loci have been independently reported from linkage analysis. Using the association data, we resolved the 1q24 signal into two regions. One region, upstream of the gene FAM78B, contains three binding sites for the transcription factor PPARG and two binding sites for HNF1A, both previously implicated in the pathology of type 2 diabetes. The fact that both loci showed ancestry effects may provide novel insight into the genetic architecture of fasting plasma glucose in individuals of African ancestry.
Author Summary
Most genome-wide association studies performed to date have focused on individuals with European ancestry. Admixed African Americans tend to have disproportionately higher risk for many common, complex diseases. Disease or trait mapping in admixed individuals can benefit from joint analysis of ancestry and genotype effects. We developed a joint test that is more powerful than either admixture mapping of ancestry effects or association mapping of genotype effects performed separately. Our joint test fully capitalizes on the reduced testing burden of admixture mapping relative to association mapping. The test is based on generalized linear models and can be performed using standard statistical software. We illustrate the increased power of the joint test by detecting two loci for fasting plasma glucose in a sample of unrelated African American individuals, neither of which loci was detected as significant by traditional association analysis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002325
PMCID: PMC3245293  PMID: 22216000
7.  Admixture Mapping of 15,280 African Americans Identifies Obesity Susceptibility Loci on Chromosomes 5 and X 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(5):e1000490.
The prevalence of obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2) is higher in African Americans than in European Americans, even after adjustment for socioeconomic factors, suggesting that genetic factors may explain some of the difference. To identify genetic loci influencing BMI, we carried out a pooled analysis of genome-wide admixture mapping scans in 15,280 African Americans from 14 epidemiologic studies. Samples were genotyped at a median of 1,411 ancestry-informative markers. After adjusting for age, sex, and study, BMI was analyzed both as a dichotomized (top 20% versus bottom 20%) and a continuous trait. We found that a higher percentage of European ancestry was significantly correlated with lower BMI (ρ = −0.042, P = 1.6×10−7). In the dichotomized analysis, we detected two loci on chromosome X as associated with increased African ancestry: the first at Xq25 (locus-specific LOD = 5.94; genome-wide score = 3.22; case-control Z = −3.94); and the second at Xq13.1 (locus-specific LOD = 2.22; case-control Z = −4.62). Quantitative analysis identified a third locus at 5q13.3 where higher BMI was highly significantly associated with greater European ancestry (locus-specific LOD = 6.27; genome-wide score = 3.46). Further mapping studies with dense sets of markers will be necessary to identify the alleles in these regions of chromosomes X and 5 that may be associated with variation in BMI.
Author Summary
Obesity is about 1.5-fold more prevalent in African Americans than European Americans. To determine whether genetic background may contribute to this observed disparity, we scanned the genomes of African Americans, searching for genomic regions where obese individuals have a difference from the average proportion of African ancestry. By examining genetic data from more than 15,000 African Americans, we show that the proportion of European ancestry is inversely correlated with BMI. In obese individuals, we detect two loci with increased African ancestry on chromosome X (Xq13.1 and Xq25) and one locus with increased European ancestry on chromosome 5 (5q13.3). The 5q13.3 and Xq25 regions both contain genes that are known to be involved in appetite regulation. Our results suggest that genetic factors may contribute to the difference in obesity prevalence between African Americans and European Americans. Further studies of the regions may identify the causative variants affecting susceptibility to obesity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000490
PMCID: PMC2679192  PMID: 19461885
8.  Results from a Prostate Cancer Admixture Mapping Study in African American Men 
Human genetics  2009;126(5):637-642.
There are considerable racial disparities in prostate cancer risk, with a 60% higher incidence rate among African American (AA) men compared with European American (EA) men, and a 2.4 fold higher mortality rate in AA men than in EA men. Recently, studies have implicated several African-ancestry associated prostate cancer susceptibility loci on chromosome 8q24. In the current study, we performed admixture mapping in AA men from two independent case-control studies of prostate cancer to confirm the 8q24 ancestry association and also identify other genomic regions that may harbor prostate cancer susceptibility genes. A total of 482 cases and 261 controls were genotyped for 1,509 ancestry informative markers across the genome. The mean estimated individual admixture proportions were 20% European and 80% African. The most significant observed increase in European ancestry occurred at rs2141360 on chromosome 7q31 in both the case-only (p=0.0000035) and case-control analyses. The most significant observed increase in African ancestry across the genome occurred at a locus on chromosome 5q35 identified by SNPs rs7729084 (case-only analysis: p=0.002), and rs12474977 (case-control analysis: p=0.004), which are separated by 646 kb and were adjacent to one another on the panel. On chromosome 8, rs4367565 was associated with the greatest excess African ancestry in both the case-only and case-control analyses (case-only and case-control p=0.02), confirming previously reported African-ancestry associations with chromosome 8q24. In conclusion, we confirmed ancestry associations on 8q24, and identified additional ancestry-associated regions potentially harboring prostate cancer susceptibility loci.
doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0712-z
PMCID: PMC2975267  PMID: 19568772
Prostate Cancer; Admixture Mapping; Ancestry; PODXL; DOCK4
9.  Characterizing Genetic Risk at Known Prostate Cancer Susceptibility Loci in African Americans 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(5):e1001387.
GWAS of prostate cancer have been remarkably successful in revealing common genetic variants and novel biological pathways that are linked with its etiology. A more complete understanding of inherited susceptibility to prostate cancer in the general population will come from continuing such discovery efforts and from testing known risk alleles in diverse racial and ethnic groups. In this large study of prostate cancer in African American men (3,425 prostate cancer cases and 3,290 controls), we tested 49 risk variants located in 28 genomic regions identified through GWAS in men of European and Asian descent, and we replicated associations (at p≤0.05) with roughly half of these markers. Through fine-mapping, we identified nearby markers in many regions that better define associations in African Americans. At 8q24, we found 9 variants (p≤6×10−4) that best capture risk of prostate cancer in African Americans, many of which are more common in men of African than European descent. The markers found to be associated with risk at each locus improved risk modeling in African Americans (per allele OR = 1.17) over the alleles reported in the original GWAS (OR = 1.08). In summary, in this detailed analysis of the prostate cancer risk loci reported from GWAS, we have validated and improved upon markers of risk in some regions that better define the association with prostate cancer in African Americans. Our findings with variants at 8q24 also reinforce the importance of this region as a major risk locus for prostate cancer in men of African ancestry.
Author Summary
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and is especially frequent in men of African origin, as incidence rates in African Americans in the United States are >1.5–fold greater than rates in European Americans. In order to gain a more complete understanding of the genetic basis of inherited susceptibility to prostate cancer in men of African origin, we examined the associations at risk loci identified in men of European and Asian descent in a large African American sample of 3,425 cases of prostate cancer and 3,290 male controls. In testing 49 known risk variants, we were able to demonstrate that at least half of these variants also contribute to risk in African American men. We were able to find additional risk variants in many of the previously reported regions that better captured the pattern of risk in African American men. In addition, we verified and improved upon the evidence we previously reported that there are multiple risk variants in a region of 8q24 that are important in men of African origin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001387
PMCID: PMC3102736  PMID: 21637779
10.  CYP1A1/2 Haplotypes and Lung Cancer and Assessment of Confounding by Population Stratification 
Cancer research  2009;69(6):2340-2348.
Prior studies of lung cancer and CYP1A1/2 in African American and Latino populations have shown inconsistent results and not yet investigated the haplotype block structure of CYP1A1/2 or addressed potential population stratification. To investigate haplotypes in the CYP1A1/2 region and lung cancer in African Americans and Latinos, we conducted a case-control study (1998-2003). African Americans (N = 535) and Latinos (N = 412) were frequency-matched on age, sex, and self-reported race/ethnicity. We used a custom genotyping panel containing 50 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the CYP1A1/2 region and 184 ancestry informative markers selected to have large allele frequency differences between Africans, Europeans, and Amerindians. Latinos exhibited significant haplotype main effects in two blocks, even after adjusting for admixture (odds ratio (OR) = 2.02, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.28 – 3.19 and OR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.36 – 0.83) but no main effects were found among African Americans. Adjustment for admixture revealed substantial confounding by population stratification among Latinos but not African Americans. Among Latinos and African Americans interactions between smoking level and haplotypes were not statistically significant. Evidence of population stratification among Latinos underscores the importance of adjusting for admixture in lung cancer association studies, particularly in Latino populations. These results suggest a variant occurring within the CYP1A2 region may be conferring an increased risk of lung cancer in Latinos.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2576
PMCID: PMC3018237  PMID: 19276377
lung cancer; haplotype; CYP1A1/2; population stratification; admixed
11.  Variants in CXADR and F2RL1 are associated with blood pressure and obesity in African-Americans in regions identified through admixture mapping 
Journal of hypertension  2012;30(10):1970-1976.
Objective
Genetic variants in 296 genes in regions identified through admixture mapping of hypertension, BMI, and lipids were assessed for association with hypertension, blood pressure, BMI, and HDL-C.
Methods
This study identified coding SNPs identified from HapMap2 data that were located in genes on chromosomes 5, 6, 8, and 21, where ancestry association evidence for hypertension, BMI or HDL-C was identified in previous admixture mapping studies. Genotyping was performed in 1,733 unrelated African-Americans from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Family Blood Pressure Project, and gene-based association analyses were conducted for hypertension, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), BMI, and HDL-C. A gene score based on the number of minor alleles of each SNP in a gene was created and used for gene-based regression analyses, adjusting for age, age2, sex, local marker ancestry, and BMI, as applicable. An individual’s African ancestry estimated from 2,507 ancestry-informative markers was also adjusted for to eliminate any confounding due to population stratification.
Results
CXADR (rs437470) on chromosome 21 was associated with SBP and DBP with or without adjusting for local ancestry (p < 0.0006). F2RL1 (rs631465) on chromosome 5 was associated with BMI (p = 0.0005). Local ancestry in these regions was associated with the respective traits as well.
Conclusions
This study suggests that CXADR and F2RL1 likely play important roles in blood pressure and obesity variation, respectively; and these findings are consistent with other studies, so replication and functional analyses are necessary.
doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283578c80
PMCID: PMC3575678  PMID: 22914544
Blood pressure; Obesity; African Americans; Genetic Association Studies
12.  Polymorphisms, Mutations, and Amplification of the EGFR Gene in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e125.
Background
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is the prototype member of the type I receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) family and plays a pivotal role in cell proliferation and differentiation. There are three well described polymorphisms that are associated with increased protein production in experimental systems: a polymorphic dinucleotide repeat (CA simple sequence repeat 1 [CA-SSR1]) in intron one (lower number of repeats) and two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region, −216 (G/T or T/T) and −191 (C/A or A/A). The objective of this study was to examine distributions of these three polymorphisms and their relationships to each other and to EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalance (AI) in non-small cell lung cancers.
Methods and Findings
We examined the frequencies of the three polymorphisms of EGFR in 556 resected lung cancers and corresponding non-malignant lung tissues from 336 East Asians, 213 individuals of Northern European descent, and seven of other ethnicities. We also studied the EGFR gene in 93 corresponding non-malignant lung tissue samples from European-descent patients from Italy and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 250 normal healthy US individuals enrolled in epidemiological studies including individuals of European descent, African–Americans, and Mexican–Americans. We sequenced the four exons (18–21) of the TK domain known to harbor activating mutations in tumors and examined the status of the CA-SSR1 alleles (presence of heterozygosity, repeat number of the alleles, and relative amplification of one allele) and allele-specific amplification of mutant tumors as determined by a standardized semiautomated method of microsatellite analysis. Variant forms of SNP −216 (G/T or T/T) and SNP −191 (C/A or A/A) (associated with higher protein production in experimental systems) were less frequent in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Both alleles of CA-SSR1 were significantly longer in East Asians than in individuals of other ethnicities (p < 0.001). Expression studies using bronchial epithelial cultures demonstrated a trend towards increased mRNA expression in cultures having the variant SNP −216 G/T or T/T genotypes. Monoallelic amplification of the CA-SSR1 locus was present in 30.6% of the informative cases and occurred more often in individuals of East Asian ethnicity. AI was present in 44.4% (95% confidence interval: 34.1%–54.7%) of mutant tumors compared with 25.9% (20.6%–31.2%) of wild-type tumors (p = 0.002). The shorter allele in tumors with AI in East Asian individuals was selectively amplified (shorter allele dominant) more often in mutant tumors (75.0%, 61.6%–88.4%) than in wild-type tumors (43.5%, 31.8%–55.2%, p = 0.003). In addition, there was a strong positive association between AI ratios of CA-SSR1 alleles and AI of mutant alleles.
Conclusions
The three polymorphisms associated with increased EGFR protein production (shorter CA-SSR1 length and variant forms of SNPs −216 and −191) were found to be rare in East Asians as compared to other ethnicities, suggesting that the cells of East Asians may make relatively less intrinsic EGFR protein. Interestingly, especially in tumors from patients of East Asian ethnicity, EGFR mutations were found to favor the shorter allele of CA-SSR1, and selective amplification of the shorter allele of CA-SSR1 occurred frequently in tumors harboring a mutation. These distinct molecular events targeting the same allele would both be predicted to result in greater EGFR protein production and/or activity. Our findings may help explain to some of the ethnic differences observed in mutational frequencies and responses to TK inhibitors.
Masaharu Nomura and colleagues examine the distribution ofEGFR polymorphisms in different populations and find differences that might explain different responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Most cases of lung cancer—the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide—are “non-small cell lung cancer” (NSCLC), which has a very low cure rate. Recently, however, “targeted” therapies have brought new hope to patients with NSCLC. Like all cancers, NSCLC occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably because of changes (mutations) in their genetic material. Chemotherapy drugs treat cancer by killing these rapidly dividing cells, but, because some normal tissues are sensitive to these agents, it is hard to kill the cancer completely without causing serious side effects. Targeted therapies specifically attack the changes in cancer cells that allow them to divide uncontrollably, so it might be possible to kill the cancer cells selectively without damaging normal tissues. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGRF) was one of the first molecules for which a targeted therapy was developed. In normal cells, messenger proteins bind to EGFR and activate its “tyrosine kinase,” an enzyme that sticks phosphate groups on tyrosine (an amino acid) in other proteins. These proteins then tell the cell to divide. Alterations to this signaling system drive the uncontrolled growth of some cancers, including NSCLC.
Why Was This Study Done?
Molecules that inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of EGFR (for example, gefitinib) dramatically shrink some NSCLCs, particularly those in East Asian patients. Tumors shrunk by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) often (but not always) have mutations in EGFR's tyrosine kinase. However, not all tumors with these mutations respond to TKIs, and other genetic changes—for example, amplification (multiple copies) of the EGFR gene—also affect tumor responses to TKIs. It would be useful to know which genetic changes predict these responses when planning treatments for NSCLC and to understand why the frequency of these changes varies between ethnic groups. In this study, the researchers have examined three polymorphisms—differences in DNA sequences that occur between individuals—in the EGFR gene in people with and without NSCLC. In addition, they have looked for associations between these polymorphisms, which are present in every cell of the body, and the EGFR gene mutations and allelic imbalances (genes occur in pairs but amplification or loss of one copy, or allele, often causes allelic imbalance in tumors) that occur in NSCLCs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured how often three EGFR polymorphisms (the length of a repeat sequence called CA-SSR1, and two single nucleotide variations [SNPs])—all of which probably affect how much protein is made from the EGFR gene—occurred in normal tissue and NSCLC tissue from East Asians and individuals of European descent. They also looked for mutations in the EGFR tyrosine kinase and allelic imbalance in the tumors, and then determined which genetic variations and alterations tended to occur together in people with the same ethnicity. Among many associations, the researchers found that shorter alleles of CA-SSR1 and the minor forms of the two SNPs occurred less often in East Asians than in individuals of European descent. They also confirmed that EGFR kinase mutations were more common in NSCLCs in East Asians than in European-descent individuals. Furthermore, mutations occurred more often in tumors with allelic imbalance, and in tumors where there was allelic imbalance and an EGFR mutation, the mutant allele was amplified more often than the wild-type allele.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers use these associations between gene variants and tumor-associated alterations to propose a model to explain the ethnic differences in mutational frequencies and responses to TKIs seen in NSCLC. They suggest that because of the polymorphisms in the EGFR gene commonly seen in East Asians, people from this ethnic group make less EGFR protein than people from other ethnic groups. This would explain why, if a threshold level of EGFR is needed to drive cells towards malignancy, East Asians have a high frequency of amplified EGFR tyrosine kinase mutations in their tumors—mutation followed by amplification would be needed to activate EGFR signaling. This model, though speculative, helps to explain some clinical findings, such as the frequency of EGFR mutations and of TKI sensitivity in NSCLCs in East Asians. Further studies of this type in different ethnic groups and in different tumors, as well as with other genes for which targeted therapies are available, should help oncologists provide personalized cancer therapies for their patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040125.
US National Cancer Institute information on lung cancer and on cancer treatment for patients and professionals
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entries on NSCLC
Cancer Research UK information for patients about all aspects of lung cancer, including treatment with TKIs
Wikipedia pages on lung cancer, EGFR, and gefitinib (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040125
PMCID: PMC1876407  PMID: 17455987
13.  Base excision repair genes and risk of lung cancer among San Francisco Bay Area Latinos and African-Americans 
Carcinogenesis  2008;30(1):78-87.
Base excision repair (BER) is the primary DNA damage repair mechanism for repairing small base lesions resulting from oxidation and alkylation damage. This study examines the association between 24 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) belonging to five BER genes (XRCC1, APEX1, PARP1, MUTYH and OGG1) and lung cancer among Latinos (113 cases and 299 controls) and African-Americans (255 cases and 280 controls). The goal was to evaluate the differences in genetic contribution to lung cancer risk by ethnic groups. Analyses of individual SNPs and haplotypes were performed using unconditional logistic regressions adjusted for age, sex and genetic ancestry. Four SNPs among Latinos and one SNP among African-Americans were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with either risk of all lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, only the association between XRCC1 Arg399Gln (rs25487) and NSCLC among Latinos (odds ratio associated with every copy of Gln = 1.52; 95% confidence interval: 1.01–2.28) had a false-positive report probability of <0.5. Arg399Gln is a SNP with some functional evidence and has been shown previously to be an important SNP associated with lung cancer, mostly for Asians. Since the analyses were adjusted for genetic ancestry, the observed association between Arg399Gln and NSCLC among Latinos is unlikely to be confounded by population stratification; however, this result needs to be confirmed by additional studies among the Latino population. This study suggests that there are genetic differences in the association between BER pathway and lung cancer between Latinos and African-Americans.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgn261
PMCID: PMC2722143  PMID: 19029194
14.  Replication of genetic loci for ages at menarche and menopause in the multi-ethnic Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2013;28(6):1695-1706.
STUDY QUESTION
Do genetic associations identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of age at menarche (AM) and age at natural menopause (ANM) replicate in women of diverse race/ancestry from the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study?
SUMMARY ANSWER
We replicated GWAS reproductive trait single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in our European descent population and found that many SNPs were also associated with AM and ANM in populations of diverse ancestry.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Menarche and menopause mark the reproductive lifespan in women and are important risk factors for chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Both events are believed to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors, and vary in populations differing by genetic ancestry and geography. Most genetic variants associated with these traits have been identified in GWAS of European-descent populations.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
A total of 42 251 women of diverse ancestry from PAGE were included in cross-sectional analyses of AM and ANM.
MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
SNPs previously associated with ANM (n = 5 SNPs) and AM (n = 3 SNPs) in GWAS were genotyped in American Indians, African Americans, Asians, European Americans, Hispanics and Native Hawaiians. To test SNP associations with ANM or AM, we used linear regression models stratified by race/ethnicity and PAGE sub-study. Results were then combined in race-specific fixed effect meta-analyses for each outcome. For replication and generalization analyses, significance was defined at P < 0.01 for ANM analyses and P < 0.017 for AM analyses.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
We replicated findings for AM SNPs in the LIN28B locus and an intergenic region on 9q31 in European Americans. The LIN28B SNPs (rs314277 and rs314280) were also significantly associated with AM in Asians, but not in other race/ethnicity groups. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns at this locus varied widely among the ancestral groups. With the exception of an intergenic SNP at 13q34, all ANM SNPs replicated in European Americans. Three were significantly associated with ANM in other race/ethnicity populations: rs2153157 (6p24.2/SYCP2L), rs365132 (5q35/UIMC1) and rs16991615 (20p12.3/MCM8). While rs1172822 (19q13/BRSK1) was not significant in the populations of non-European descent, effect sizes showed similar trends.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
Lack of association for the GWAS SNPs in the non-European American groups may be due to differences in locus LD patterns between these groups and the European-descent populations included in the GWAS discovery studies; and in some cases, lower power may also contribute to non-significant findings.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
The discovery of genetic variants associated with the reproductive traits provides an important opportunity to elucidate the biological mechanisms involved with normal variation and disorders of menarche and menopause. In this study we replicated most, but not all reported SNPs in European descent populations and examined the epidemiologic architecture of these early reported variants, describing their generalizability and effect size across differing ancestral populations. Such data will be increasingly important for prioritizing GWAS SNPs for follow-up in fine-mapping and resequencing studies, as well as in translational research.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
The Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) program is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), supported by U01HG004803 (CALiCo), U01HG004798 (EAGLE), U01HG004802 (MEC), U01HG004790 (WHI) and U01HG004801 (Coordinating Center), and their respective NHGRI ARRA supplements. The authors report no conflicts of interest.
doi:10.1093/humrep/det071
PMCID: PMC3657124  PMID: 23508249
menopause; menarche; genome-wide association study; race/ethnicity; single nucleotide polymorphism
15.  Dissecting the Within-Africa Ancestry of Populations of African Descent in the Americas 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14495.
Background
The ancestry of African-descended Americans is known to be drawn from three distinct populations: African, European, and Native American. While many studies consider this continental admixture, few account for the genetically distinct sources of ancestry within Africa – the continent with the highest genetic variation. Here, we dissect the within-Africa genetic ancestry of various populations of the Americas self-identified as having primarily African ancestry using uniparentally inherited mitochondrial DNA.
Methods and Principal Findings
We first confirmed that our results obtained using uniparentally-derived group admixture estimates are correlated with the average autosomal-derived individual admixture estimates (hence are relevant to genomic ancestry) by assessing continental admixture using both types of markers (mtDNA and Y-chromosome vs. ancestry informative markers). We then focused on the within-Africa maternal ancestry, mining our comprehensive database of published mtDNA variation (∼5800 individuals from 143 African populations) that helped us thoroughly dissect the African mtDNA pool. Using this well-defined African mtDNA variation, we quantified the relative contributions of maternal genetic ancestry from multiple W/WC/SW/SE (West to South East) African populations to the different pools of today's African-descended Americans of North and South America and the Caribbean.
Conclusions
Our analysis revealed that both continental admixture and within-Africa admixture may be critical to achieving an adequate understanding of the ancestry of African-descended Americans. While continental ancestry reflects gender-specific admixture processes influenced by different socio-historical practices in the Americas, the within-Africa maternal ancestry reflects the diverse colonial histories of the slave trade. We have confirmed that there is a genetic thread connecting Africa and the Americas, where each colonial system supplied their colonies in the Americas with slaves from African colonies they controlled or that were available for them at the time. This historical connection is reflected in different relative contributions from populations of W/WC/SW/SE Africa to geographically distinct Africa-derived populations of the Americas, adding to the complexity of genomic ancestry in groups ostensibly united by the same demographic label.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014495
PMCID: PMC3017210  PMID: 21253579
16.  Fine mapping of breast cancer genome-wide association studies loci in women of African ancestry identifies novel susceptibility markers 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(7):1520-1528.
Numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with breast cancer susceptibility have been identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, these SNPs were primarily discovered and validated in women of European and Asian ancestry. Because linkage disequilibrium is ancestry-dependent and heterogeneous among racial/ethnic populations, we evaluated common genetic variants at 22 GWAS-identified breast cancer susceptibility loci in a pooled sample of 1502 breast cancer cases and 1378 controls of African ancestry. None of the 22 GWAS index SNPs could be validated, challenging the direct generalizability of breast cancer risk variants identified in Caucasians or Asians to other populations. Novel breast cancer risk variants for women of African ancestry were identified in regions including 5p12 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11–1.76; P = 0.004), 5q11.2 (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.09–1.36; P = 0.00053) and 10p15.1 (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.08–1.38; P = 0.0015). We also found positive association signals in three regions (6q25.1, 10q26.13 and 16q12.1–q12.2) previously confirmed by fine mapping in women of African ancestry. In addition, polygenic model indicated that eight best markers in this study, compared with 22 GWAS-identified SNPs, could better predict breast cancer risk in women of African ancestry (per-allele OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.16–1.27; P = 9.7 × 10–16). Our results demonstrate that fine mapping is a powerful approach to better characterize the breast cancer risk alleles in diverse populations. Future studies and new GWAS in women of African ancestry hold promise to discover additional variants for breast cancer susceptibility with clinical implications throughout the African diaspora.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgt090
PMCID: PMC3697898  PMID: 23475944
17.  Sensitive Detection of Chromosomal Segments of Distinct Ancestry in Admixed Populations 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(6):e1000519.
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.
Author Summary
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000519
PMCID: PMC2689842  PMID: 19543370
18.  Extending Admixture Mapping to Nuclear Pedigrees: Application to Sarcoidosis 
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(3):10.1002/gepi.21710.
We describe statistical methods that extend the application of admixture mapping from unrelated individuals to nuclear pedigrees, allowing existing pedigree-based collections to be fully exploited. Computational challenges have been overcome by developing a fast algorithm that exploits the factorial structure of the underlying model of ancestry transitions. This has been implemented as an extension of the program ADMIXMAP. We demonstrate the application of the method to a study of sarcoidosis in African Americans that has previously been analyzed only as an admixture mapping study restricted to unrelated individuals. Although the ancestry signals detected in this pedigree analysis are generally similar to those detected in the earlier analysis of unrelated cases, we are able to extract more information and this yields a much sharper exclusion map; using the classical criterion of an LOD score of minus 2, the pedigree analysis is able to exclude a risk ratio of 2 or more associated with African ancestry over 96% of the genome, compared with only 83% in the earlier analysis of unrelated individuals only. Although the pedigree extension of ADMIXMAP can use ancestry-informative markers only at relatively low density, it can use imputed ancestry states from programs such as WINPOP or HAPMIX that use dense SNP marker genotypes for admixture mapping. This extends both the efficiency and the range of application of this powerful gene mapping method.
doi:10.1002/gepi.21710
PMCID: PMC3756835  PMID: 23371909
admixture; ancestry; pedigrees; linkage; sarcoidosis; African American; hidden Markov models
19.  Genome-wide Ancestry Association Testing Identifies a Common European Variant on 6q14.1 as a Risk Factor for Asthma in African Americans 
Background
Genetic variants that contribute to asthma susceptibility may be present at varying frequencies in different populations, which is an important consideration and advantage for performing genetic association studies in admixed populations.
Objective
To identify asthma-associated loci in African Americans.
Methods
We compared local African and European ancestry estimated from dense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotype data in African American adults with asthma and non-asthmatic controls. Allelic tests of association were performed within the candidate regions identified, correcting for local European admixture.
Results
We identified a significant ancestry association peak on chromosomes 6q. Allelic tests for association within this region identified a SNP (rs1361549) on 6q14.1 that was associated with asthma exclusively in African Americans with local European admixture (OR=2.2). The risk allele is common in Europe (42% in the HapMap CEU) but absent in West Africa (0% in the HapMap YRI), suggesting the allele is present in African Americans due to recent European admixture. We replicated our findings in Puerto Ricans and similarly found that the signal of association is largely specific to individuals who are heterozygous for African and non-African ancestry at 6q14.1. However, we found no evidence for association in European Americans or in Puerto Ricans in the absence of local African ancestry, suggesting that the association with asthma at rs1361549 is due to an environmental or genetic interaction.
Conclusion
We identified a novel asthma-associated locus that is relevant to admixed populations with African ancestry, and highlight the importance of considering local ancestry in genetic association studies of admixed populations.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.03.045
PMCID: PMC3503456  PMID: 22607992
asthma; population structure; genome-wide association study; admixture mapping; ancestry association testing; admixed populations; African Americans; Puerto Ricans
20.  Exploration of the utility of ancestry informative markers for genetic association studies of African Americans with type 2 diabetes and end stage renal disease 
Human genetics  2008;124(2):147-154.
Admixture and population stratification are major concerns in genetic association studies. We wished to evaluate the impact of admixture using empirically derived data from genetic association studies of African Americans (AA) with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Seventy ancestry informative markers (AIMs) were genotyped in 577 AA with T2DM-ESRD, 596 AA controls, 44 Yoruba Nigerian (YRI) and 39 European American (EA) controls. Genotypic data and association results for eight T2DM candidate gene studies in our AA population were included. Ancestral estimates were calculated using FRAPPE, ADMIXMAP and STRUCTURE for all AA samples, using varying numbers of AIMs (25, 50, and 70). Ancestry estimates varied significantly across all three programs with the highest estimates obtained using STRUCTURE, followed by ADMIXMAP; while FRAPPE estimates were the lowest. FRAPPE estimates were similar using varying numbers of AIMs, while STRUCTURE estimates using 25 AIMs differed from estimates using 50 and 70 AIMs. Female T2DM-ESRD cases showed higher mean African proportions as compared to female controls, male cases, and male controls. Age showed a weak but significant correlation with individual ancestral estimates in AA cases (r2=0.101; P=0.019) and in the combined set (r2=0.131; P=3.57×10−5). The absolute difference between frequencies in parental populations, absolute δ, was correlated with admixture impact for dominant, additive, and recessive genotypic models of association. This study presents exploratory analyses of the impact of admixture on studies of AA with T2DM-ESRD and supports the use of ancestral proportions as a means of reducing confounding effects due to admixture.
doi:10.1007/s00439-008-0532-6
PMCID: PMC2786006  PMID: 18654799
Population structure; African American; diabetes
21.  Genetic variants on chromosome 5p12 are associated with risk of breast cancer in African American women: the Black Women's Health Study 
Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs4415084, and rs10941679 on chromosome 5p12 were associated with risk of breast cancer in a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of women of European ancestry. Both SNPs are located in a large high-LD region and the causal variant(s) are still unknown. We conducted a nested case–control study in a cohort of African American women to replicate and narrow the region carrying the causal variant(s). We evaluated 14 tagging SNPs in a 98 kb LD block surrounding the index SNPs in 886 breast cancer cases and 1,089 controls from the Black Women's Health Study. We used the Cochran–Armitage trend test to assess association with breast cancer risk. Odds ratios were derived from logistic regression analyses adjusted for potential confounders including percent European admixture. We confirmed the reported association of rs4415084 SNP with overall risk of breast cancer (P = 0.06), and, as in the original study, observed a stronger association with estrogen receptor positive tumors (P = 0.03). We identified four other SNPs (rs6451770, rs12515012, rs13156930, and rs16901937) associated with risk of breast cancer at the nominal alpha value of 0.05; all of them were located in a 59 kb HapMap YRI LD block. After correction for multiple testing, the association with SNP rs16901937 remained significant (P permutated = 0.038). The G allele was associated with a 21% increased risk of breast cancer overall and with a 32% increase in tumors positive for both estrogen and progesterone receptors. The present results from an African ancestry (AA) population confirm the presence of breast cancer susceptibility genetic variants in the chromosome 5p12 region. We successfully used the shorter range of LD in our AA sample to refine the localization of the putative causal variant.
doi:10.1007/s10549-010-0775-5
PMCID: PMC3208423  PMID: 20140701
Breast cancer; Chromosome 5p12; African Americans; SNP
22.  Comparison of Statistical Methods for Estimating Genetic Admixture in a Lung Cancer Study of African Americans and Latinos 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2008;168(9):1035-1046.
A variety of methods are available for estimating genetic admixture proportions in populations; however, few investigators have conducted detailed comparisons using empirical data. The authors characterized admixture proportions among self-identified African Americans (n = 535) and Latinos (n = 412) living in the San Francisco Bay Area who participated in a lung cancer case-control study (1998–2003). Individual estimates of genetic ancestry based on 184 informative markers were obtained from a Bayesian approach and 2 maximum likelihood approaches and were compared using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficients, and Bland-Altman plots. Case-control differences in individual admixture proportions were assessed using 2-sample t tests and logistic regression analysis. Results indicated that Bayesian and frequentist approaches to estimating admixture provide similar estimates and inferences. No difference was observed in admixture proportions between African-American cases and controls, but Latino cases and controls significantly differed according to Amerindian and European genetic ancestry. Differences in admixture proportions between Latino cases and controls were not unexpected, since cases were more likely to have been born in the United States. Genetic admixture proportions provide a quantitative measure of ancestry differences among Latinos that can be used in analyses of genetic risk factors.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwn224
PMCID: PMC2720774  PMID: 18791191
African Americans; case-control studies; epidemiologic methods; genetics, population; Hispanic Americans; linkage disequilibrium; lung neoplasms; statistics
23.  MHC region and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus in African-American women 
Human genetics  2011;130(6):807-815.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6p21 is a key contributor to the genetic basis of systemic lupus erythemathosus (SLE). Although SLE affects African Americans disproportionately compared to European Americans, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the MHC region in relationship to SLE in African Americans. We conducted a screening of the MHC region for 1,536 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the deletion of the C4A gene in a SLE case-control study (380 cases, 765 age-matched controls) nested within the prospective Black Women’s Health Study. We also genotyped 1,509 ancestral informative markers throughout the genome to estimate European ancestry in order to control for population stratification due to population admixture. The most strongly associated SNP with SLE was the rs9271366 (odds ratio, OR = 1.70, p = 5.6×10−5) near the HLA-DRB1 gene. Conditional haplotype analysis revealed three other SNPs, rs204890 (OR = 1.86, p = 1.2×10−4), rs2071349 (OR = 1.53, p = 1.0×10−3), and rs2844580 (OR = 1.43, p = 1.3×10−3) to be associated with SLE independent of the rs9271366 SNP. In univariate analysis, the OR for the C4A deletion was 1.38, p = 0.075, but after simultaneous adjustment for the other four SNPs the odds ratio was 1.01, p = 0.98. A genotype score combining the four newly identified SNPs showed an additive risk according to the number of high-risk alleles (OR = 1.67 per high-risk allele, p< 0.0001). Our strongest signal, the rs9271366 SNP, was also associated with higher risk of SLE in a previous Chinese genome-wide association study (GWAS). In addition, two SNPs found in a GWAS of European ancestry women were confirmed in our study, indicating that African Americans share some genetic risk factors for SLE with European and Chinese subjects. In summary, we found four independent signals in the MHC region associated with risk of SLE in African American women.
doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1045-2
PMCID: PMC3215804  PMID: 21695597
systemic lupus erythemathosus; African Americans; major histocompatibility complex; single nucleotide polymorphisms
24.  Geographic Patterns of Genome Admixture in Latin American Mestizos 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(3):e1000037.
The large and diverse population of Latin America is potentially a powerful resource for elucidating the genetic basis of complex traits through admixture mapping. However, no genome-wide characterization of admixture across Latin America has yet been attempted. Here, we report an analysis of admixture in thirteen Mestizo populations (i.e. in regions of mainly European and Native settlement) from seven countries in Latin America based on data for 678 autosomal and 29 X-chromosome microsatellites. We found extensive variation in Native American and European ancestry (and generally low levels of African ancestry) among populations and individuals, and evidence that admixture across Latin America has often involved predominantly European men and both Native and African women. An admixture analysis allowing for Native American population subdivision revealed a differentiation of the Native American ancestry amongst Mestizos. This observation is consistent with the genetic structure of pre-Columbian populations and with admixture having involved Natives from the area where the Mestizo examined are located. Our findings agree with available information on the demographic history of Latin America and have a number of implications for the design of association studies in population from the region.
Author Summary
The history of Latin America has entailed a complex process of population mixture between Native and recent immigrants across a vast geographic region. Few details are known about this process or about how it has shaped the genetic makeup of contemporary Latin American populations. To perform a broad exploration of the genetic diversity of Latin America we carried out genome-wide analyses in 13 mestizo populations sampled from 7 countries across the region. We observe a marked variation in ancestry both within and between mestizo populations. This variation in ancestry correlates with pre-Columbian Native population density in the areas examined and with recent patterns of demographic growth of the sites sampled. We also find evidence that the mixture at the origin of these populations involved mainly immigrant European men and Native and African women. Finally, mestizo populations show a differentiated Amerindian genetic background, consistent with a predominantly local Native ancestry. Mestizos thus still reveal the genetic imprint of the pre-Columbian Native American population diversification. Our study helps delineate the genetic landscape of Latin America and has a number of implications for gene identification analyses in populations from the region.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000037
PMCID: PMC2265669  PMID: 18369456
25.  A genome-wide association study of serum uric acid in African Americans 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:17.
Background
Uric acid is the primary byproduct of purine metabolism. Hyperuricemia is associated with body mass index (BMI), sex, and multiple complex diseases including gout, hypertension (HTN), renal disease, and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Multiple genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry (EA) have reported associations between serum uric acid levels (SUAL) and specific genomic loci. The purposes of this study were: 1) to replicate major signals reported in EA populations; and 2) to use the weak LD pattern in African ancestry population to better localize (fine-map) reported loci and 3) to explore the identification of novel findings cognizant of the moderate sample size.
Methods
African American (AA) participants (n = 1,017) from the Howard University Family Study were included in this study. Genotyping was performed using the Affymetrix® Genome-wide Human SNP Array 6.0. Imputation was performed using MACH and the HapMap reference panels for CEU and YRI. A total of 2,400,542 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assessed for association with serum uric acid under the additive genetic model with adjustment for age, sex, BMI, glomerular filtration rate, HTN, T2D, and the top two principal components identified in the assessment of admixture and population stratification.
Results
Four variants in the gene SLC2A9 achieved genome-wide significance for association with SUAL (p-values ranging from 8.88 × 10-9 to 1.38 × 10-9). Fine-mapping of the SLC2A9 signals identified a 263 kb interval of linkage disequilibrium in the HapMap CEU sample. This interval was reduced to 37 kb in our AA and the HapMap YRI samples.
Conclusions
The most strongly associated locus for SUAL in EA populations was also the most strongly associated locus in this AA sample. This finding provides evidence for the role of SLC2A9 in uric acid metabolism across human populations. Additionally, our findings demonstrate the utility of following-up EA populations GWAS signals in African-ancestry populations with weaker linkage disequilibrium.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-4-17
PMCID: PMC3045279  PMID: 21294900

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