Genetic differences in the two main groups of the Japanese population based on autosomal SNPs and haplotypes.
ABSTRACT Although the Japanese population has a rather low genetic diversity, we recently confirmed the presence of two main clusters (the Hondo and Ryukyu clusters) through principal component analysis of genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes. Understanding the genetic differences between the two main clusters requires further genome-wide analyses based on a dense SNP set and comparison of haplotype frequencies. In the present study, we determined haplotypes for the Hondo cluster of the Japanese population by detecting SNP homozygotes with 388,591 autosomal SNPs from 18,379 individuals and estimated the haplotype frequencies. Haplotypes for the Ryukyu cluster were inferred by a statistical approach using the genotype data from 504 individuals. We then compared the haplotype frequencies between the Hondo and Ryukyu clusters. In most genomic regions, the haplotype frequencies in the Hondo and Ryukyu clusters were very similar. However, in addition to the human leukocyte antigen region on chromosome 6, other genomic regions (chromosomes 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 12) showed dissimilarities in haplotype frequency. These regions were enriched for genes involved in the immune system, cell-cell adhesion and the intracellular signaling cascade. These differentiated genomic regions between the Hondo and Ryukyu clusters are of interest because they (1) should be examined carefully in association studies and (2) likely contain genes responsible for morphological or physiological differences between the two groups.