Laboratory of Anthropology, Genetics and Peopling history (AGP lab), University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
We present here the results of the Analysis of HLA Population Data (AHPD) project of the 16th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop (16IHIW) held in Liverpool in May-June 2012. Thanks to the collaboration of 25 laboratories from 18 different countries, HLA genotypic data for 59 new population samples (either well-defined populations or donor registry samples) were gathered and 55 were analysed statistically following HLA-NET recommendations. The new data included, among others, large sets of well-defined populations from north-east Europe and West Asia, as well as many donor registry data from European countries. The Gene[rate] computer tools were combined to create a Gene[rate] computer pipeline to automatically (i) estimate allele frequencies by an expectation-maximization algorithm accommodating ambiguities, (ii) estimate heterozygosity, (iii) test for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE), (iv) test for selective neutrality, (v) generate frequency graphs and summary statistics for each sample at each locus and (vi) plot multidimensional scaling (MDS) analyses comparing the new samples with previous IHIW data. Intrapopulation analyses show that HWE is rarely rejected, while neutrality tests often indicate a significant excess of heterozygotes compared with neutral expectations. The comparison of the 16IHIW AHPD data with data collected during previous workshops (12th-15th) shows that geography is an excellent predictor of HLA genetic differentiations for HLA-A, -B and -DRB1 loci but not for HLA-DQ, whose patterns are probably more influenced by natural selection. In Europe, HLA genetic variation clearly follows a north to south-east axis despite a low level of differentiation between European, North African and West Asian populations. Pacific populations are genetically close to Austronesian-speaking South-East Asian and Taiwanese populations, in agreement with current theories on the peopling of Oceania. Thanks to this project, HLA genetic variation is more clearly defined worldwide and better interpreted in relation to human peopling history and HLA molecular evolution.
Laboratory of Anthropology, Genetics, and Peopling History (AGP), Laboratory of Anthropology, Genetics, and Peopling History (AGP), Anthropology Unit, Department of Genetics and Evolution, Universi...
The Austroasiatic linguistic family disputes its origin between two geographically distant regions of Asia, India, and Southeast Asia, respectively. As genetic studies based on classical and gender-specific genetic markers provided contradictory results to this debate thus far, we investigated the HLA diversity (HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 loci) of an Austroasiatic Munda population from Northeast India and its relationships with other populations from India and Southeast Asia. Because molecular methods currently used to test HLA markers often provide ambiguous results due to the high complexity of this polymorphism, we applied two different techniques (reverse PCR-SSO typing on microbeads arrays based on Luminex technology, and PCR-SSP typing) to type the samples. After validating the resulting frequency distributions through the original statistical method described in our companion article ( Nunes et al. 2011 ), we compared the HLA genetic profile of the sampled Munda to those of other Asiatic populations, among which Dravidian and Indo-European-speakers from India and populations from East and Southeast Asia speaking languages belonging to different linguistic families. We showed that the Munda from Northeast India exhibit a peculiar genetic profile with a reduced level of HLA diversity compared to surrounding Indian populations. They also exhibit less diversity than Southeast Asian populations except at locus DRB1. Several analyses using genetic distances indicate that the Munda are much more closely related to populations from the Indian subcontinent than to Southeast Asian populations speaking languages of the same Austroasiatic linguistic family. On the other hand, they do not share a closer relationship with Dravidians compared with Indo-Europeans, thus arguing against the idea that the Munda share a common and ancient Indian origin with Dravidians. Our results do not favor either a scenario where the Munda would be representative of an ancestral Austroasiatic population giving rise to an eastward Austroasiatic expansion to Southeast Asia. Rather, their peculiar genetic profile is better explained by a decrease in genetic diversity through genetic drift from an ancestral population having a genetic profile similar to present-day Austroasiatic populations from Southeast Asia (thus suggesting a possible southeastern origin), followed by intensive gene flow with neighboring Indian populations. This conclusion is in agreement with archaeological and linguistic information. The history of the Austroasiatic family represents a fascinating example where complex interactions among culturally distinct human populations occurred in the past.
Laboratory of Anthropology, Genetics and Peopling History (AGP Lab), University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
During the 15th International Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Workshop (IHIWS), 14 human leukocyte antigen (HLA) laboratories participated in the Analysis of HLA Population Data (AHPD) project where 18 new population samples were analyzed statistically and compared with data available from previous workshops. To that aim, an original methodology was developed and used (i) to estimate frequencies by taking into account ambiguous genotypic data, (ii) to test for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) by using a nested likelihood ratio test involving a parameter accounting for HWE deviations, (iii) to test for selective neutrality by using a resampling algorithm, and (iv) to provide explicit graphical representations including allele frequencies and basic statistics for each series of data. A total of 66 data series (1-7 loci per population) were analyzed with this standard approach. Frequency estimates were compliant with HWE in all but one population of mixed stem cell donors. Neutrality testing confirmed the observation of heterozygote excess at all HLA loci, although a significant deviation was established in only a few cases. Population comparisons showed that HLA genetic patterns were mostly shaped by geographic and/or linguistic differentiations in Africa and Europe, but not in America where both genetic drift in isolated populations and gene flow in admixed populations led to a more complex genetic structure. Overall, a fruitful collaboration between HLA typing laboratories and population geneticists allowed finding useful solutions to the problem of estimating gene frequencies and testing basic population diversity statistics on highly complex HLA data (high numbers of alleles and ambiguities), with promising applications in either anthropological, epidemiological, or transplantation studies.
Departement d'Anthropologie et d'Ecologie, Universite de Geneve, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan language families come into contact in Western Ethiopia. Ethnic diversity is particularly high in the South, where the Nilo-Saharan Nyangatom and the Afro-Asiatic Daasanach dwell. Despite their linguistic differentiation, both populations rely on a similar agripastoralist mode of subsistence. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA extracted from Nyangatom and Daasanach archival sera revealed high levels of diversity, with most sequences belonging to the L haplogroups, the basal branches of the mitochondrial phylogeny. However, in sharp contrast with other Ethiopian populations, only 5% of the Nyangatom and Daasanach sequences belong to haplogroups M and N. The Nyangatom and Daasanach were found to be significantly differentiated, while each of them displays close affinities with some Tanzanian populations. The strong genetic structure found over East Africa was neither associated with geography nor with language, a result confirmed by the analysis of 6711 HVS-I sequences of 136 populations mainly from Africa. Processes of migration, language shift and group absorption are documented by linguists and ethnographers for the Nyangatom and Daasanach, thus pointing to the probably transient and plastic nature of these ethnic groups. These processes, associated with periods of isolation, could explain the high diversity and strong genetic structure found in East Africa.