Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First 'genetic map' of Han Chinese may aid search for disease susceptibility genes

27.11.2009
Genome Institute of Singapore researchers compiled map based on genome-wide variations of 6,000 samples

The first genetic historical map of the Han Chinese, the largest ethnic population in the world, as they migrated from south to north over evolutionary time. was published online today by the American Journal of Human Genetics by scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

Based on genome-wide DNA variation information in over 6,000 Han Chinese samples from 10 provinces in China, this new map provides information about the population structure and evolutionary history of this group of people that can help scientists to identify subtle differences in the genetic diversity of Asian populations.

Understanding these differences may aid in the design and interpretation of studies to identify genes that confer susceptibility to such common diseases as diabetes in ethnic Chinese individuals. Understanding these differences also is crucial in exploring how genes and environment interact to cause diseases.

With the genetic map, the GIS scientists were able to show that the northern inhabitants of China were genetically distinguishable from those in the south, a finding that seems very consistent with the Han Chinese's historical migration pattern.

The genetic map also revealed that the genetic divergence was closely correlated with the geographic map of China. This finding suggests the persistence of local co-ancestry in the country.

"The genome-wide genetic variation study is a powerful tool which may be used to infer a person's ancestral origin and to study population relationships," said Liu Jianjun, Ph.D., GIS Human Genetics Group Leader.

"For example, an ethnic Chinese born and bred in Singapore can still be traced back to his or her ancestral roots in China," Dr. Liu said. "By investigating the genome-wide DNA variation, we can determine whether an anonymous person is a Chinese, what the ancestral origin of this person in China may be, and sometimes which dialect group of the Han Chinese this person may belong to.

"More importantly, our study provides information for a better design of genetic studies in the search for genes that confer susceptibility to various diseases," he added.

Of particular interest to people in Singapore are the findings that while the majority of Singaporean Chinese hail from Southern China as expected, some have a more northern ancestral origin.

GIS Executive Director Edison Liu, M.D., said, "Genome association studies have provided significant insights into the genes involved in common disorders such as diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, and neurological disorders, but most of this work has been done on Caucasian populations.

"More recently, Dr. Liu Jianjun from our institute has been working with his Chinese colleagues to define the genetic causes of some of these diseases in Asian populations," the GIS Executive Director added. "This work refined those tools so that the results will not be obscured by subtle differences in the genetic diversity of Asian populations. In the process, Dr. Liu has reconstructed a genetic historical map of the Chinese people as they migrated from south to north over evolutionary time."

"There are definite differences in genetic architecture between populations," noted Chia Kee Seng, M.D., Head, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS), and Director, NUS-GIS Centre for Molecular Epidemiology.

"We have seen this in the Singapore Genome Variation Project, a Joint NUH-GIS effort. Understanding these differences is crucial in exploring how genes and environment interact to cause diseases," he added.

The research results published in American Journal of Human Genetics is part of a larger ongoing project on the genome-wide association study of diseases among the Chinese population. The project is a collaboration between GIS and several institutions and universities in China.

In Jan. 2009, Nature Genetics published the findings of researchers at the GIS and Anhui Medical University, China, on psoriasis, a common chronic skin disease. In that study, led by Dr. Liu Jianjun at the GIS and Dr. Zhang Xuejun at the Anhui Medical University, the scientists discovered a genetic variant that provides protection against the development of psoriasis. The collaboration's recent discovery of over a dozen genetic risk variants for systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in the Chinese population was published in Nature Genetics in Oct. 2009.

The American Journal of Human Genetics paper is titled, "Genetic Structure of the Han Chinese Population Revealed by Genome-wide SNP Variation."

Authors: Jieming Chen 1*, Houfeng Zheng 3,4,5*, Jin-Xin Bei 6,7, Liangdan Sun 3,4 5, Wei-hua Jia 6,7, Tao Li 8,9, Furen Zhang 10, Mark Seielstad 1,2,11, Yi-Xin Zeng 6,7, Xuejun Zhang 3,4 5, Jianjun Liu 1,2,3,4

Human Genetics, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore
Centre for Molecular Epidemiology, (Yong Loo Lin) School of Medicine, the National University of Singapore 117597, Singapore
Institute of Dermatology and Department of Dermatology at No.1 Hospital, Anhui Medical University
The Key Laboratory of Gene Resource Utilization for Severe Diseases, Ministry of Education and Anhui Province
Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China
State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Guangzhou, China
Department of Experimental Research, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China
The Department of Psychiatry & Psychiatric laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
The Department of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, UK
Shandong Provincial Institute of Dermatology and Venereology, Shandong Academy of Medical Science, Jinan, Shandong, China

Dept. of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

Correspondence: Dr. Jianjun Liu, GIS, email: liuj3@gis.a-star.edu.sg; tel: +65 64788088.

* These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It is a national initiative with a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine. The key research areas at the GIS include Systems Biology, Stem Cell & Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Genomic Technologies, and Computational & Mathematical Biology. The genomics infrastructure at the GIS is utilized to train new scientific talent, to function as a bridge for academic and industrial research, and to explore scientific questions of high impact.

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
www.a-star.edu.sg
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and seven consortia & centre, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity.

A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.

For more information:

Genome Institute of Singapore
Winnie Serah Lim
Office of Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 6478 8013
(65) 9730 7884
Email: limcp2@gis.a-star.edu.sg

Winnie Serah Lim | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gis.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.a-star.edu.sg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

Im Focus: Graphene enables clock rates in the terahertz range

Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.

Graphene – an ultrathin material consisting of a single layer of interlinked carbon atoms – is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making better use of enzymes: a new research project at Jacobs University

19.09.2018 | Life Sciences

Light provides spin

19.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Enjoying virtual-reality-entertainment without headache or motion sickness

19.09.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>