Genetic Chaos

Monday, October 03, 2005

Ethnic-Difference Markers for Use in Mapping by Admixture Linkage Disequilibrium

Mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD) is a potentially powerful technique for the mapping of complex genetic diseases. The practical requirements of this method include (a) a set of markers spanning the genome that have large allele-frequency differences between the parental ethnicities contributing to the admixed population and (b) an understanding of the extent of admixture in the study population. To this end, a DNA-pooling technique was used to screen microsatellite and diallelic insertion/deletion markers for allele-frequency differences between putative representatives of the parental populations of the admixed Mexican American (MA) and African American (AA) populations. Markers with promising pooled differences were then confirmed by individual genotyping in both the parental and admixed populations. For the MA population, screening of 1600 markers identified 151 ethnic-difference markers (EDMs) with > 0.30 (where is the absolute value of each allele-frequency difference between two populations, summed over all marker alleles and divided by two) that are likely to be useful for MALD analysis. For the AA population, analysis of > 400 markers identified 97 EDMs. In addition, individual genotyping of these markers in Pima Amerindians, Yavapai Amerindians, European American (EA) individuals, Africans from Zimbabwe, MA individuals, and AA individuals, as well as comparison to the CEPH genotyping set, suggests that the differences between subpopulations of an ethnicity are small for many markers with large interethnic differences. Estimates of admixture that are based on individual genotyping of these markers are consistent with a 60% EA:40% Amerindian contribution to MA populations and with a 20% EA:80% African contribution to AA populations. Taken together, these data suggest that EDMs with large interpopulation and small intrapopulation differences can be readily identified for MALD studies in both AA and MA populations.

PDF file

Large-scale SNP analysis reveals clustered and continuous patterns of human genetic variation

Understanding the distribution of human genetic variation is an important foundation for research into the genetics of common diseases. Some of the alleles that modify common disease risk are themselves likely to be common and, thus, amenable to identification using gene-association methods. A problem with this approach is that the large sample sizes required for sufficient statistical power to detect alleles with moderate effect make gene-association studies susceptible to false-positive findings as the result of population stratification. Such type I errors can be eliminated by using either family-based association tests or methods that sufficiently adjust for population stratification. These methods require the availability of genetic markers that can detect and, thus, control for sources of genetic stratification among populations. In an effort to investigate population stratification and identify appropriate marker panels, we have analysed 11,555 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 203 individuals from 12 diverse human populations. Individuals in each population cluster to the exclusion of individuals from other populations using two clustering methods. Higher-order branching and clustering of the populations are consistent with the geographic origins of populations and with previously published genetic analyses. These data provide a valuable resource for the definition of marker panels to detect and control for population stratification in population-based gene identification studies. Using three US resident populations (European-American, African-American and Puerto Rican), we demonstrate how such studies can proceed, quantifying proportional ancestry levels and detecting significant admixture structure in each of these populations.

PDF file