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Capocasa M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Capocasa M.,Instituto Italiano Of Antropologia | Battaggia C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Anagnostou P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The identification of isolation signatures is fundamental to better understand the genetic structure of human populations and to test the relations between cultural factors and genetic variation. However, with current approaches, it is not possible to distinguish between the consequences of long-term isolation and the effects of reduced sample size, selection and differential gene flow. To overcome these limitations, we have integrated the analysis of classical genetic diversity measures with a Bayesian method to estimate gene flow and have carried out simulations based on the coalescent. Combining these approaches, we first tested whether the relatively short history of cultural and geographical isolation of four "linguistic islands" of the Eastern Alps (Lessinia, Sauris, Sappada and Timau) had left detectable signatures in their genetic structure. We then compared our findings to previous studies of European population isolates. Finally, we explored the importance of demographic and cultural factors in shaping genetic diversity among the groups under study. A combination of small initial effective size and continued genetic isolation from surrounding populations seems to provide a coherent explanation for the diversity observed among Sauris, Sappada and Timau, which was found to be substantially greater than in other groups of European isolated populations. Simulations of micro-evolutionary scenarios indicate that ethnicity might have been important in increasing genetic diversity among these culturally related and spatially close populations. © 2013 Capocasa et al.

Pagani L.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Pagani L.,Leverhulme Center for Human Evolutionary Studies | Ayub Q.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | MacArthur D.G.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | And 11 more authors.
Human Genetics | Year: 2012

We have surveyed 15 high-altitude adaptation candidate genes for signals of positive selection in North Caucasian highlanders using targeted re-sequencing. A total of 49 unrelated Daghestani from three ethnic groups (Avars, Kubachians, and Laks) living in ancient villages located at around 2,000 m above sea level were chosen as the study population. Caucasian (Adygei living at sea level, N = 20) and CEU (CEPH Utah residents with ancestry from northern and western Europe; N = 20) were used as controls. Candidate genes were compared with 20 putatively neutral control regions resequenced in the same individuals. The regions of interest were amplified by long- PCR, pooled according to individual, indexed by adding an eight-nucleotide tag, and sequenced using the Illumina GAII platform. 1,066 SNPs were called using false discovery and false negative thresholds of ∼6%. The neutral regions provided an empirical null distribution to compare with the candidate genes for signals of selection. Two genes stood out. In Laks, a non-synonymous variant within HIF1A already known to be associated with improvement in oxygen metabolism was rediscovered, and in Kubachians a cluster of 13 SNPs located in a conserved intronic region within EGLN1 showing high population differentiation was found. These variants illustrate both the common pathways of adaptation to high altitude in different populations and features specific to the Daghestani populations, showing how even a mildly hypoxic environment can lead to genetic adaptation. © The Author(s) 2011.

Raj S.M.,Cornell University | Halebeedu P.,University of Mysore | Kadandale J.S.,Center for Human Genetics | Lahr M.M.,Leverhulme Center for Human Evolutionary Studies | And 13 more authors.
Annals of Human Genetics | Year: 2013

South Asian populations harbor a high degree of genetic diversity, due in part to demographic history. Two studies on genome-wide variation in Indian populations have shown that most Indian populations show varying degrees of admixture between ancestral north Indian and ancestral south Indian components. As a result of this structure, genetic variation in India appears to follow a geographic cline. Similarly, Indian populations seem to show detectable differences in diabetes and obesity prevalence between different geographic regions of the country. We tested the hypothesis that genetic variation at diabetes-and obesity-associated loci may be potentially related to different genetic ancestries. We genotyped 2977 individuals from 61 populations across India for 18 SNPs in genes implicated in T2D and obesity. We examined patterns of variation in allele frequency across different geographical gradients and considered state of origin and language affiliation. Our results show that most of the 18 SNPs show no significant correlation with latitude, the geographic cline reported in previous studies, or by language family. Exceptions include KCNQ1 with latitude and THADA and JAK1 with language, which suggests that genetic variation at previously ascertained diabetes-associated loci may only partly mirror geographic patterns of genome-wide diversity in Indian populations. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/University College London.

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