Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic Diversity Of European Americans And Disease Gene Mapping

18.01.2008
Labels such as “European American”, “white”, or “Caucasian” are often viewed as representing a homogeneous category in gene mapping studies and census reports, but each of these labels actually groups together multiple populations, which have diverse origins due to the complex history of European immigration to the United States.

In a recent study, published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, an international team of researchers provide the first genetic dissection of the population structure of European Americans, focusing on identifying the contributions from different genetic ancestries that are important for disease gene mapping.

This is a timely issue as the last year has seen a dramatic upswing in genetic association studies and the discovery of almost a hundred new risk factors for common genetic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. If the subtle population substructure that exists within European American populations is not understood and accounted for, genetic association studies can produce incorrect findings if disease cases are compared to healthy controls that on average have different ancestry.

By systematically examining data from four actual disease association studies in European Americans, this study describes and characterizes the majority of population substructure in European Americans that could lead to spurious associations. “Although our work is far from a complete description of European American population history, for the purpose of disease gene mapping studies it is adequate to measure how closely each person’s genetic ancestry resembles three populations that can be roughly described as northwest European, southeast European, or Ashkenazi Jewish,” says Dr. David Reich, one of the senior authors on the study, an Associate Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. “With this approach, we can avoid most false-positive associations due to population substructure in European American disease gene mapping studies. Our previous work has addressed related challenges in studies of African Americans and Latino Americans.”

... more about:
»Associate »Association »Genetic »Harvard »ancestry

Based on their discovery that ancestry from only three populations accounts for most of the potentially problematic substructure in European American disease association studies, the researchers scoured through published data sets to identify places in the genome where common DNA sequence variants differ substantially in frequency among these three ancestral populations and are therefore potentially informative for estimating genetic ancestry. The investigators then confirmed the utility of these genetic variants by testing them in DNA samples that their coauthors collected from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, Spain, Italy, Greece and U.S. Ashkenazi Jews. “We identified 300 common genetic variants that have unusually different frequencies in the three ancestral populations: they are about 10 times more informative for predicting the ancestry of European Americans than random genetic variants”, says lead author Dr. Alkes Price, a post-doctoral researcher at the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. “We can thus correct for population substructure in European American disease association studies using just these 300 markers.”

This panel of 300 markers should be valuable in targeted associated studies that follow up previously implicated candidate genes: by comparing the ancestry of disease cases to healthy controls using data from the panel of 300 markers, researchers can determine whether observed associations are genuine, and not false-positives due to population structure. The panel can also be used to match the ancestry of cases and controls prior to more comprehensive studies.

While the technology should provide a new tool in disease gene mapping studies, the researchers caution that the ability to roughly categorize individuals into populations with a small number of genetic markers is not useful in a clinical setting, nor does it completely eliminate the utility of self-described ethnicity. “Although these 300 markers give a reasonable estimate of the major components of genetic ancestry in European Americans, self-described ethnicity can still reflect environmental, social and cultural factors that may not be captured by estimating genetic ancestry,” says Dr. Joel Hirschhorn, one of the senior authors of the study, an Associate Professor of Genetics at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, and a Senior Associate Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, “Because the genetic differences between these populations are very small, the study is most important for helping in gene discovery efforts, which will lead to better understanding of human biology in health and disease, and hopefully improved care for all patients over the long term.”

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://genetics.plos.org

Further reports about: Associate Association Genetic Harvard ancestry

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>