A GWAS in Latin Americans highlights the convergent evolution of lighter skin pigmentation in Eurasia.
ABSTRACT: We report a genome-wide association scan in >6,000 Latin Americans for pigmentation of skin and eyes. We found eighteen signals of association at twelve genomic regions. These include one novel locus for skin pigmentation (in 10q26) and three novel loci for eye pigmentation (in 1q32, 20q13 and 22q12). We demonstrate the presence of multiple independent signals of association in the 11q14 and 15q13 regions (comprising the GRM5/TYR and HERC2/OCA2 genes, respectively) and several epistatic interactions among independently associated alleles. Strongest association with skin pigmentation at 19p13 was observed for an Y182H missense variant (common only in East Asians and Native Americans) in MFSD12, a gene recently associated with skin pigmentation in Africans. We show that the frequency of the derived allele at Y182H is significantly correlated with lower solar radiation intensity in East Asia and infer that MFSD12 was under selection in East Asians, probably after their split from Europeans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Association studies in recently admixed populations are extremely useful to identify the genetic architecture of pigmentation, due to their high genotypic and phenotypic variation. However, to date only four Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been carried out in these populations. RESULTS:We present a GWAS of skin pigmentation in an admixed sample from Cuba (N?=?762). Additionally, we conducted a meta-analysis including the Cuban sample, and admixed samples from Cape Verde, Puerto Rico and African-Americans from San Francisco. This meta-analysis is one of the largest efforts so far to characterize the genetic basis of skin pigmentation in admixed populations (N?=?2,104). We identified five genome-wide significant regions in the meta-analysis, and explored if the markers observed in these regions are associated with the expression of relevant pigmentary genes in human melanocyte cultures. In three of the regions identified in the meta-analysis (SLC24A5, SLC45A2, and GRM5/TYR), the association seems to be driven by non-synonymous variants (rs1426654, rs16891982, and rs1042602, respectively). The rs16891982 polymorphism is strongly associated with the expression of the SLC45A2 gene. In the GRM5/TYR region, in addition to the rs1042602 non-synonymous SNP located on the TYR gene, variants located in the nearby GRM5 gene have an independent effect on pigmentation, possibly through regulation of gene expression of the TYR gene. We also replicated an association recently described near the MFSD12 gene on chromosome 19 (lead variant rs112332856). Additionally, our analyses support the presence of multiple signals in the OCA2/HERC2/APBA2 region on chromosome 15. A clear causal candidate is the HERC2 intronic variant rs12913832, which has a profound influence on OCA2 expression. This variant has pleiotropic effects on eye, hair, and skin pigmentation. However, conditional and haplotype-based analyses indicate the presence of other variants with independent effects on melanin levels in OCA2 and APBA2. Finally, a follow-up of genome-wide signals identified in a recent GWAS for tanning response indicates that there is a substantial overlap in the genetic factors influencing skin pigmentation and tanning response. CONCLUSIONS:Our meta-analysis of skin pigmentation GWAS in recently admixed populations provides new insights about the genetic architecture of this complex trait.
Project description:Despite the wide range of skin pigmentation in humans, little is known about its genetic basis in global populations. Examining ethnically diverse African genomes, we identify variants in or near SLC24A5, MFSD12, DDB1, TMEM138, OCA2, and HERC2 that are significantly associated with skin pigmentation. Genetic evidence indicates that the light pigmentation variant at SLC24A5 was introduced into East Africa by gene flow from non-Africans. At all other loci, variants associated with dark pigmentation in Africans are identical by descent in South Asian and Australo-Melanesian populations. Functional analyses indicate that MFSD12 encodes a lysosomal protein that affects melanogenesis in zebrafish and mice, and that mutations in melanocyte-specific regulatory regions near DDB1/TMEM138 correlate with expression of ultraviolet response genes under selection in Eurasians.
Project description:Skin pigmentation is a complex trait that varies largely among populations. Most genome-wide association studies of this trait have been performed in Europeans and Asians. We aimed to uncover genes influencing skin colour in African-admixed individuals. We performed a genome-wide association study of melanin levels in 285 Hispanic/Latino individuals from Puerto Rico, analyzing 14 million genetic variants. A total of 82 variants with p-value ?1?×?10-5 were followed up in 373 African Americans. Fourteen single nucleotide polymorphisms were replicated, of which nine were associated with skin colour at genome-wide significance in a meta-analysis across the two studies. These results validated the association of two previously known skin pigmentation genes, SLC24A5 (minimum p?=?2.62?×?10-14, rs1426654) and SLC45A2 (minimum p?=?9.71?×?10-10, rs16891982), and revealed the intergenic region of BEND7 and PRPF18 as a novel locus associated with this trait (minimum p?=?4.58?×?10-9, rs6602666). The most significant variant within this region is common among African-descent populations but not among Europeans or Native Americans. Our findings support the advantages of analyzing African-admixed populations to discover new genes influencing skin pigmentation.
Project description:Skin pigmentation is one of the most variable phenotypic traits in humans. A non-synonymous substitution (rs1426654) in the third exon of SLC24A5 accounts for lighter skin in Europeans but not in East Asians. A previous genome-wide association study carried out in a heterogeneous sample of UK immigrants of South Asian descent suggested that this gene also contributes significantly to skin pigmentation variation among South Asians. In the present study, we have quantitatively assessed skin pigmentation for a largely homogeneous cohort of 1228 individuals from the Southern region of the Indian subcontinent. Our data confirm significant association of rs1426654 SNP with skin pigmentation, explaining about 27% of total phenotypic variation in the cohort studied. Our extensive survey of the polymorphism in 1573 individuals from 54 ethnic populations across the Indian subcontinent reveals wide presence of the derived-A allele, although the frequencies vary substantially among populations. We also show that the geospatial pattern of this allele is complex, but most importantly, reflects strong influence of language, geography and demographic history of the populations. Sequencing 11.74 kb of SLC24A5 in 95 individuals worldwide reveals that the rs1426654-A alleles in South Asian and West Eurasian populations are monophyletic and occur on the background of a common haplotype that is characterized by low genetic diversity. We date the coalescence of the light skin associated allele at 22-28 KYA. Both our sequence and genome-wide genotype data confirm that this gene has been a target for positive selection among Europeans. However, the latter also shows additional evidence of selection in populations of the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan and North India but not in South India.
Project description:White coat color in mammals has been selected several times during the domestication process. Numerous dog breeds are fixed for one form of white coat color that involves darkly pigmented skin. The genetic basis of this color, due to the absence of pigment in the hairs, was suggested to correspond to extreme dilution of the phaeomelanin, by both the expression of only phaeomelanin (locus E) and its extreme dilution (locus I). To go further, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using a multiple breed approach. The first GWAS, using 34 white dogs and 128 non-white dogs, including White Shepherds, Poodles, Cotons de Tulear and Bichons allowed us to identify two significantly associated loci on the locus E and a novel locus on chromosome 20. A second GWAS using 15 other breeds presenting extreme phaeomelanin dilution confirmed the position of locus I on the chromosome 20 (position 55 Mb pcorrected = 6 × 10-13). Using whole-genome sequencing, we identified a missense variant in the first exon of MFSD12, a gene recently identified to be involved in human, mouse and horse pigmentation. We confirmed the role of this variant in phaeomelanin dilution of numerous canine breeds, and the conserved role of MFSD12 in mammalian pigmentation.
Project description:Skin lightening among Eurasians is thought to have been a convergence occurring independently in Europe and East Asia as an adaptation to high latitude environments. Among Europeans, several genes responsible for such lightening have been found, but the information available for East Asians is much more limited. Here, a genome-wide comparison between dark-skinned Africans and Austro-Asiatic speaking aborigines and light-skinned northern Han Chinese identified the pigmentation gene OCA2, showing unusually deep allelic divergence between these groups. An amino acid substitution (His615Arg) of OCA2 prevalent in most East Asian populations-but absent in Africans and Europeans-was significantly associated with skin lightening among northern Han Chinese. Further transgenic and targeted gene modification analyses of zebrafish and mouse both exhibited the phenotypic effect of the OCA2 variant manifesting decreased melanin production. These results indicate that OCA2 plays an important role in the convergent skin lightening of East Asians during recent human evolution.
Project description:Dramatic pigmentation changes have evolved within most vertebrate groups, including fish and humans. Here we use genetic crosses in sticklebacks to investigate the parallel origin of pigmentation changes in natural populations. High-resolution mapping and expression experiments show that light gills and light ventrums map to a divergent regulatory allele of the Kit ligand (Kitlg) gene. The divergent allele reduces expression in gill and skin tissue and is shared by multiple derived freshwater populations with reduced pigmentation. In humans, Europeans and East Asians also share derived alleles at the KITLG locus. Strong signatures of selection map to regulatory regions surrounding the gene, and admixture mapping shows that the KITLG genomic region has a significant effect on human skin color. These experiments suggest that regulatory changes in Kitlg contribute to natural variation in vertebrate pigmentation, and that similar genetic mechanisms may underlie rapid evolutionary change in fish and humans.
Project description:The last decade has witnessed important advances in our understanding of the genetics of pigmentation in European populations, but very little is known about the genes involved in skin pigmentation variation in East Asian populations. Here, we present the results of a study evaluating the association of 10 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) located within 5 pigmentation candidate genes (OCA2, DCT, ADAM17, ADAMTS20, and TYRP1) with skin pigmentation measured quantitatively in a sample of individuals of East Asian ancestry living in Canada. We show that the non-synonymous polymorphism rs1800414 (His615Arg) located within the OCA2 gene is significantly associated with skin pigmentation in this sample. We replicated this result in an independent sample of Chinese individuals of Han ancestry. This polymorphism is characterized by a derived allele that is present at a high frequency in East Asian populations, but is absent in other population groups. In both samples, individuals with the derived G allele, which codes for the amino acid arginine, show lower melanin levels than those with the ancestral A allele, which codes for the amino acid histidine. An analysis of this non-synonymous polymorphism using several programs to predict potential functional effects provides additional support for the role of this SNP in skin pigmentation variation in East Asian populations. Our results are consistent with previous research indicating that evolution to lightly-pigmented skin occurred, at least in part, independently in Europe and East Asia.
Project description:The inverse correlation between skin pigmentation and latitude observed in human populations is thought to have been shaped by selective pressures favoring lighter skin to facilitate vitamin D synthesis in regions far from the equator. Several candidate genes for skin pigmentation have been shown to exhibit patterns of polymorphism that overlap the geospatial variation in skin color. However, little work has focused on estimating the time frame over which skin pigmentation has changed and on the intensity of selection acting on different pigmentation genes. To provide a temporal framework for the evolution of lighter pigmentation, we used forward Monte Carlo simulations coupled with a rejection sampling algorithm to estimate the time of onset of selective sweeps and selection coefficients at four genes associated with this trait in Europeans: KITLG, TYRP1, SLC24A5, and SLC45A2. Using compound haplotype systems consisting of rapidly evolving microsatellites linked to one single-nucleotide polymorphism in each gene, we estimate that the onset of the sweep shared by Europeans and East Asians at KITLG occurred approximately 30,000 years ago, after the out-of-Africa migration, whereas the selective sweeps for the European-specific alleles at TYRP1, SLC24A5, and SLC45A2 started much later, within the last 11,000-19,000 years, well after the first migrations of modern humans into Europe. We suggest that these patterns were influenced by recent increases in size of human populations, which favored the accumulation of advantageous variants at different loci.