Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mixed population provides insights into human genetic makeup

16.02.2009
Genetic diseases and genetically mixed populations can help researchers understand human diversity and human origins according to a Penn State physical anthropologist.

"We wanted to get to a strategy to predict what a face will look like," said Mark D. Shriver, associate professor of biological anthropology. "We want to understand the path of evolution that leads to that part of the selection process."

To pinpoint genes that influence the shape of the human face and head, Shriver began with an online database of genes linked to disease -- Online Mendelian Inheritance of Man. If the symptoms of the disease involved the face or skull the gene implicated in the disease became a candidate for those facial traits.

This approach works because although Shriver looked at genes implicated in disease, those same genes in a healthy person may also influence the same physical trait -- length, width, shape, size -- but within the range normal for healthy individuals. Facial traits vary among humans, but do tend to group by population. For example, in general, West Africans have wider faces than Europeans and Europeans have longer faces than West Africans.

"There is a strong relationship between genetic ancestry and facial traits," said Shriver. "Using individuals of combined ancestry, European and African, we can see how the target genes alter facial traits," he told attendees at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The researchers looked at a combined sample of African Americans with West African and European ancestry whose genetic makeup was known through DNA testing. To make it simpler, anyone with Native American ancestry was eliminated so that only two genetic pools were represented -- West African and European. The researchers reported on a sample of 254 individuals using three-dimensional imaging and measured the distances between specific portions of the face. Each individual had provided a DNA sample.

"We started with 22 landmarks on the faces that could be accurately located in all the images," said Shriver.

These landmarks might be the tip of the nose, the tip of the chin, the outer corner of the eye or other repeatable locations. They then recorded the distances between all the points in all directions, so they had a distance map of each of the faces.

From their DNA profiles, Shriver could determine the admixture percentages of each individual, how much of their genetic make up came from each group. He could then compare the genetically determined admixture to the facial feature differences and determine the relative differences from the parental populations.

"This type of study, done on admixed populations shows that each person is a composite of their ancestors and that the range of facial features is a continuum," says Shriver.

Shriver found that there was a very strong statistical correlation between the amounts of admixture and the facial traits.

"We chose to look at African Americans because they were a large enough and available admixed population," said Shriver. "We are trying to solidify our understanding of the origins of humans and the evolutionary processes. Looking at admixed populations shows us the influence genes have and how they relate to physical features."

A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells
28.07.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D imaging reveals how human cell nucleus organizes DNA and chromatin of its genome

28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heavy metals in water meet their match

28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>