5 years ago

Population differentiation in allele frequencies of obesity-associated SNPs

Population differentiation in allele frequencies of obesity-associated SNPs
Yayin Fang, Linyong Mao, Michael Campbell, William M. Southerland
Obesity is emerging as a global health problem, with more than one-third of the world’s adult population being overweight or obese. In this study, we investigated worldwide population differentiation in allele frequencies of obesity-associated SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). We collected a total of 225 obesity-associated SNPs from a public database. Their population-level allele frequencies were derived based on the genotype data from 1000 Genomes Project (phase 3). We used hypergeometric model to assess whether the effect allele at a given SNP is significantly enriched or depleted in each of the 26 populations surveyed in the 1000 Genomes Project with respect to the overall pooled population. Our results indicate that 195 out of 225 SNPs (86.7%) possess effect alleles significantly enriched or depleted in at least one of the 26 populations. Populations within the same continental group exhibit similar allele enrichment/depletion patterns whereas inter-continental populations show distinct patterns. Among the 225 SNPs, 15 SNPs cluster in the first intron region of the FTO gene, which is a major gene associated with body-mass index (BMI) and fat mass. African populations exhibit much smaller blocks of LD (linkage disequilibrium) among these15 SNPs while European and Asian populations have larger blocks. To estimate the cumulative effect of all variants associated with obesity, we developed the personal composite genetic risk score for obesity. Our results indicate that the East Asian populations have the lowest averages of the composite risk scores, whereas three European populations have the highest averages. In addition, the population-level average of composite genetic risk scores is significantly correlated (R2 = 0.35, P = 0.0060) with obesity prevalence. We have detected substantial population differentiation in allele frequencies of obesity-associated SNPs. The results will help elucidate the genetic basis which may contribute to population disparities in obesity prevalence.
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