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.
University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, UK Riga Stradi...
HLA-NET (a European COST Action) aims at networking researchers working in bone marrow transplantation, epidemiology and population genetics to improve the molecular characterization of the HLA genetic diversity of human populations, with an expected strong impact on both public health and fundamental research. Such improvements involve finding consensual strategies to characterize human populations and samples and report HLA molecular typings and ambiguities; proposing user-friendly access to databases and computer tools and defining minimal requirements related to ethical aspects. The overall outcome is the provision of population genetic characterizations and comparisons in a standard way by all interested laboratories. This article reports the recommendations of four working groups (WG1-4) of the HLA-NET network at the mid-term of its activities. WG1 (Population definitions and sampling strategies for population genetics' analyses) recommends avoiding outdated racial classifications and population names (e.g. 'Caucasian') and using instead geographic and/or cultural (e.g. linguistic) criteria to describe human populations (e.g. 'pan-European'). A standard 'HLA-NET POPULATION DATA QUESTIONNAIRE' has been finalized and is available for the whole HLA community. WG2 (HLA typing standards for population genetics analyses) recommends retaining maximal information when reporting HLA typing results. Rather than using the National Marrow Donor Program coding system, all ambiguities should be provided by listing all allele pairs required to explain each genotype, according to the formats proposed in 'HLA-NET GUIDELINES FOR REPORTING HLA TYPINGS'. The group also suggests taking into account a preliminary list of alleles defined by polymorphisms outside the peptide-binding sites that may affect population genetic statistics because of significant frequencies. WG3 (Bioinformatic strategies for HLA population data storage and analysis) recommends the use of programs capable of dealing with ambiguous data, such as the 'gene[rate]' computer tools to estimate frequencies, test for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and selective neutrality on data containing any number and kind of ambiguities. WG4 (Ethical issues) proposes to adopt thorough general principles for any HLA population study to ensure that it conforms to (inter)national legislation or recommendations/guidelines. All HLA-NET guidelines and tools are available through its website http://hla-net.eu.
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), Anthropology Unit, Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Jose.DeAbreuNunes@unige.ch
The development of molecular typing techniques applied to the study of population genetic diversity originates data with increasing precision but at the cost of some ambiguities. As distinct techniques may produce distinct kinds of ambiguities, a crucial issue is to assess the differences between frequency distributions estimated from data produced by alternative techniques for the same sample. To that aim, we developed a resampling scheme that allows evaluating, by statistical means, the significance of the difference between two frequency distributions. The same approach is then shown to be applicable to test selective neutrality when only sample frequencies are known. The use of these original methods is presented here through an application to the genetic study of a Munda human population sample, where three different HLA loci were typed using two different molecular methods (reverse PCR-SSO typing on microbeads arrays based on Luminex technology and PCR-SSP typing), as described in details in the companion article by Riccio et al. [The Austroasiatic Munda population from India and its enigmatic origin: An HLA diversity study. Hum. Biol. 38:405-435 (2011)]. The differences between the frequency estimates of the two typing techniques were found to be smaller than those resulting from sampling. Overall, we show that using a resampling scheme in validating frequency estimates is effective when alternative frequency estimates are available. Moreover, resampling appears to be the unique way to test selective neutrality when only frequency data are available to describe the genetic structure of populations.
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.
Department of Neurology, Oslo University Hospital, Ulleval, Oslo, Norway. firstname.lastname@example.org
This study reports extensive genomic data for both human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and II loci in Norwegian Sami, a native population living in the northwest of Europe. The Sami have a distinct culture and their own languages, which belong to the Uralic linguistic family. Norwegian Sami (n = 200) were typed at the DNA level for the HLA-A, -C, -B, -DRB1 and -DQB1 loci, and compared with a non-Sami Norwegian population (n = 576). The two populations exhibited some common genetic features but also differed significantly at all HLA loci. The most significantly deviating allele frequencies were an increase of HLA-A*03, -B*27, -DRB1*08 and -DQB1*04 and a decrease of HLA-A*01, C*01, -DRB1*04 and -DQB1*02 among Sami compared with non-Sami Norwegians. The Sami showed no deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The hypothesis of selective neutrality was rejected at all loci except for the A- and C- loci for the Sami. HLA haplotype frequencies also differed between the two populations. The most common extended HLA haplotypes were A*02-B*27-C*01-DR*08-DQB1*04 in the Sami and A*01-B*08-C*07-DR*03-DQB1*02 in the other Norwegians. Genetic distance analyses indicated that the Norwegian Sami were highly differentiated from other Europeans and were most closely related to Finns whose language also belongs to the Uralic linguistic family. In conclusion, the Norwegian Sami and the non-Sami Norwegians were significantly different at all HLA loci. Our results can be explained by the fact that the two populations have different origins and that the Sami population has remained smaller and more isolated than its neighbors.