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Consanguineous marriages are usually socially driven and can be genetically harmful. The detrimental effects of inbreeding are the consequence of homozygosity of harmful genes. On the other hand, beneficial effects of inbreeding, theoretically, could be expected in those who are homozygous for protective recessive and codominant genes. Here, we argue that the most common monogenetic conditions in humans, namely, α-thalassemia, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, hemoglobin C, and Duffy antigen negative red blood cells, which have evolved under pressure from malaria, had their survival and selection enhanced by consanguineous marriages in malaria-infested regions of the world. This hypothesis is supported by several observations. First, the presence of two mutations in homozygotes involving the listed conditions (except G6PD deficiency) imparts better protection against malaria than the presence of one or no mutation (heterozygous or normal genotypes, respectively); consanguinity increases the number of homozygotes, especially at low allele frequency. For G6PD deficiency, inbreeding could increase the allele frequency of the G6PD-deficient allele. Second, there is overlap between, on the one hand, the geographic distributions of malaria, thalassemias, and other red blood cell conditions that protect against malaria and, on the other hand, consanguineous marriages. Third, the distribution of different intensities of malaria infestation is matched with the frequency of human inbreeding. These observations, taken together, offer strong support to the hypothesis that the culture of consanguineous marriages and the genetics of protection against malaria have co-evolved by fostering survival against malaria through better retention of protective genes in the extended family.
The initial peopling of South America is largely unresolved, in part because of the unique distribution of genetic diversity in native South Americans. On average, genetic diversity estimated within Andean populations is higher than that estimated within Amazonian populations. Yet there is less genetic differentiation estimated among Andean populations than estimated among Amazonian populations. One hypothesis is that this pattern is a product of independent migrations of genetically differentiated people into South America. A competing hypothesis is that there was a single migration followed by regional isolation. In this study we address these hypotheses using mtDNA hypervariable region 1 sequences representing 21 South American groups and include new data sets for four native Peruvian communities from Tupe, Yungay, and Puno. An analysis of variance that compared the combined data from western South America to the combined data from eastern South America determined that these two regional data sets are not significantly different. As a result, a migration from a single source population into South America serves as the simplest explanation of the data.
We investigate the heritability of and pleiotropic relationships among triglycerides and cholesterol lipoproteins that have long been considered traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Quantitative lipid and lipoprotein phenotypes were determined for a cross-sectional sample of a community in Jequitinhonha valley in northern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The sample consisted primarily of subsistence farmers. Two hundred sixty-nine individuals (128 males and 141 females), ages 18–88 years, were sampled. Eighty-eight percent (n = 252) of the individuals belonged to a single pedigree, which was highly informative for genetic analysis. Data on anthropometrics, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol, and triglycerides were available for each study participant. Extended pedigrees were constructed using the pedigree-based data management software PedSys. Univariate and bivariate variance-components analyses, adjusted by sex and age, were performed using the SOLAR software package. Heritability estimates of lipids and lipoproteins ranged from 29% to 45% (p < 0.008). The highest heritability estimated was for HDL-C (h2 = 44.8%, p < 0.0001), and this was the only trait that exhibited a significant household effect (c2 = 25%). Strong positive genetic correlations were found between triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) (ρg= 0.998) and between total cholesterol and LDL-C (ρg = 0.948). Significant genetic correlations were also found between triglycerides and LDL-C, between total cholesterol and VLDL, and between total cholesterol and LDL-C and VLDL, and finally between LDL and VLDL. There was a significant negative environmental correlation between triglycerides and HDL-C (ρe = −0.406).
Results from previous studies suggest that adiponectin levels are associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus; however, the genetic and/or environmental components of this relationship have not been characterized. The aims of this study were (1) to assess the presence of pleiotropy between adiponectin levels and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and (2) to study the association of circulating levels of adiponectin with risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the absence and presence of obesity in Mexican American adults from the San Antonio Family Heart Study. Body composition and circulating levels of adiponectin, leptin, and lipid subfractions and measurements of glucose metabolism were measured in 898 subjects. The mean and standard error of the circulating levels of adiponectin was 8.7 ±3.2 μg/ml. Bivariate quantitative analyses between adiponectin levels and phenotypes related to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus were conducted using the variance decomposition approach implemented in SOLAR. A second analysis in unrelated subjects compared these risk factors between sex and agematched lean and obese subjects with high and low adiponectin levels. We found significant evidence of pleiotropy (i.e., shared genetic effects) between plasma levels of adiponectin and wellestablished risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Individuals with low adiponectin levels per body weight had more adverse risk profiles. These findings offer new insights into the genetic connection between increasing adiposity and risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, and they suggest that adiponectin may be an important risk factor for the development of these conditions.
The present Venezuelan population is the product of admixture of Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans, a process that was not homogeneous throughout the country. Blood groups, short tandem repeats (STRs), mtDNA, and Y-chromosome markers have been used successfully in admixture studies, but few such studies have been conducted in Venezuela. In this study we aim to estimate the admixture components of samples from two different socio -economic levels from Caracas, Venezuela's capital city, compare their differences, and infer sexual asymmetry in the European Amerindian union patterns. Gene frequencies for blood groups ABO and Rh (CDE) and for the STRs VWA, F13A01, and FES/FPS and mtDNA and Y-chromosome haplogroups were studied in a sample of 60 individuals living in Caracas, taken from a private clinic (high socioeconomic level), and 50 individuals, also living in Caracas, drawn from a public maternity clinic (low socioeconomic level). The admixture analysis for the five autosomal markers gives a high European component (0.78) and an almost negligible African sub-Saharan component (0.06) for the high socioeconomic level, whereas for the low socioeconomic level the sub-Saharan, European, and Amerindian components were 0.21, 0.42, and 0.36, respectively. Estimates of admixture based on mtDNA and Y-chromosome markers reveal that the Amerindian contribution to these Caracas samples is almost entirely through females, because the Y-chromosome Amerindian and African sub-Saharan chromosomes found in this study were scarce. Our study reveals that the identification of the grandparents' geographic origin is an important methodological aspect to take into account in genetic studies related to the reconstruction of historical events.
To study the isonymy structure of Texas, we analyzed the surname distributions of 3.6 million telephone users registered for the year 1996 in 232 towns distributed in the 7 regions of the state. The number of different surnames was 235,740. Matrices of isonymy distances between towns and between geographic regions were constructed and tested for correlation with geographic distance. We found that isonymy distances between the seven regions showed borderline or no correlation with geographic distance, with r = 0.089 ±0.232, r = 0.492 ±0.232, and r = 0.337 ±0.232 for Lasker's, Euclidean, and Nei's distances, respectively. Isonymy distances between towns were significantly correlated with geographic distance, with r = 0.249 ±0.006 for Lasker's distance, r = 0.338 ±0.006 for the Euclidean distance, and r = 0.418 ±0.006 for Nei's distance. Two dendrograms, one for the 7 regions and one for the 232 towns, were built from the matrices of Nei's distances. The dendrogram for regions indicates that a main surname differentiation exists between the East and West areas of Texas, with West Texas being predominantly Hispanic and East Texas being predominantly English-speaking. The dendrogram for the towns confirms in detail the differences identified by the matrix of distances between regions. Random inbreeding calculated from isonymy, FST, was highest in the west and in the south of the state. It was lowest in the area of Austin and Houston. Average Fisher's αfor towns was 734, for regions it was 1,047, and for Texas as a whole it was 1,230. The geographic distribution of αin the state shows distinctly lower values in the traditionally Hispanic west and higher values in the east and on the Gulf of Mexico.
Population-based genetic association studies, popularly known as case-control studies, have continued to be the most preferred method for deciphering the genetic basis of various complex diseases, even in the post–human genome sequencing era. However, interpopulation differences in allele, genotype, and haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium patterns lead to inconsistent results in candidate gene association studies. Therefore, for any meaningful disease association study, knowledge of the normative genetic background of the baseline population is a prerequisite. In addition, such genetic variation data also provide a ready-made menu of allele frequencies and linkage disequilibrium patterns of various polymorphisms in specific candidate genes in a particular population, which is a useful reference for further genetic association studies. Such genetic variation data are lacking for the Indian population, which represents about one-sixth of the world's population. In the present study we have reported the allele, genotype, and haplotype frequencies, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium status, and linkage disequilibrium patterns of 12 polymorphisms in six candidate genes from the reninangiotensin-aldosterone system among Indians. Because of their different history of origin, the Indian population is broadly divided into two subpopulations: North Indians (Caucasian Europeans) and South Indians (Dravidians). Considering this well-documented difference in gene pools, we have presented a comparative account of the normative genetic data of North Indian and South Indian populations with at least four individuals of urban and suburban origin from each of the representative states of northern and southern India.
We previously analyzed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS, 1998 to 2002) on families with two biological children (10 years of age and younger) and found that the distribution of families with two boys, two girls, and one boy one girl did not statistically conform to a binomial distribution regardless of the boy/girl sex ratio used. Using the best estimate of the sex ratio from the data, we found that there were significantly more families with opposite-sex siblings than families with same-sex siblings. No biological mechanism could explain these results at the time. In the present study we conducted an analysis of the first two children in sibships of size 3 from the same data source and found that there are significantly more same-sex sibships than unlike-sex sibships. Combining the two sets of data for the first two children produced observed numbers in close agreement with the expected numbers. A hypothesis of parental choice (family planning) appears to be strongly supported as an explanation for the discrepancies in the two sets of data individually. For example, parents who have a boy and a girl (either order) as their first two children are more likely to stop having children (“stopping rule”) than are parents whose first two children are of the same sex.