Diversity of Lactase Persistence Alleles in Ethiopia: Signature of a Soft Selective Sweep.
ABSTRACT The persistent expression of lactase into adulthood in humans is a recent genetic adaptation that allows the consumption of milk from other mammals after weaning. In Europe, a single allele (-13910(∗)T, rs4988235) in an upstream region that acts as an enhancer to the expression of the lactase gene LCT is responsible for lactase persistence and appears to have been under strong directional selection in the last 5,000 years, evidenced by the widespread occurrence of this allele on an extended haplotype. In Africa and the Middle East, the situation is more complicated and at least three other alleles (-13907(∗)G, rs41525747; -13915(∗)G, rs41380347; -14010(∗)C, rs145946881) in the same LCT enhancer region can cause continued lactase expression. Here we examine the LCT enhancer sequence in a large lactose-tolerance-tested Ethiopian cohort of more than 350 individuals. We show that a further SNP, -14009T>G (ss 820486563), is significantly associated with lactose-digester status, and in vitro functional tests confirm that the -14009(∗)G allele also increases expression of an LCT promoter construct. The derived alleles in the LCT enhancer region are spread through several ethnic groups, and we report a greater genetic diversity in lactose digesters than in nondigesters. By examining flanking markers to control for the effects of mutation and demography, we further describe, from empirical evidence, the signature of a soft selective sweep.
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ABSTRACT: Lactase gene expression declines with aging (lactase non-persistence) in the majority of humans worldwide. Lactase persistence is a heritable autosomal dominant condition and has been strongly correlated with several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located ~14-kb upstream (-13907, -13910 and -13915) of the lactase gene in different ethnic populations. In contrast to the -13907*G and -13910*T SNPs, the -13915*G SNP was previously believed not to interact with Oct-1. In the present study, however, Oct-1 is shown to interact with the -13915*G SNP region DNA sequence by EMSAs and gel supershift. In addition, Oct-1 is capable of enhancing promoter activity of a lactase promoter-reporter construct harboring the 13915*G SNP sequence in cell culture. Oct-1 binding to the -13907 to -13915 SNP region therefore remains a candidate interaction involved in lactase persistence.Human Genetics 10/2010; 129(1):111-3. · 4.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In this report, we compare and contrast three previously published Bayesian methods for inferring haplotypes from genotype data in a population sample. We review the methods, emphasizing the differences between them in terms of both the models ("priors") they use and the computational strategies they employ. We introduce a new algorithm that combines the modeling strategy of one method with the computational strategies of another. In comparisons using real and simulated data, this new algorithm outperforms all three existing methods. The new algorithm is included in the software package PHASE, version 2.0, available online (http://www.stat.washington.edu/stephens/software.html).The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2003; 73(5):1162-9. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In most human populations, the ability to digest lactose contained in milk usually disappears in childhood, but in European-derived populations, lactase activity frequently persists into adulthood (Scrimshaw and Murray 1988). It has been suggested (Cavalli-Sforza 1973; Hollox et al. 2001; Enattah et al. 2002; Poulter et al. 2003) that a selective advantage based on additional nutrition from dairy explains these genetically determined population differences (Simoons 1970; Kretchmer 1971; Scrimshaw and Murray 1988; Enattah et al. 2002), but formal population-genetics-based evidence of selection has not yet been provided. To assess the population-genetics evidence for selection, we typed 101 single-nucleotide polymorphisms covering 3.2 Mb around the lactase gene. In northern European-derived populations, two alleles that are tightly associated with lactase persistence (Enattah et al. 2002) uniquely mark a common (~77%) haplotype that extends largely undisrupted for >1 Mb. We provide two new lines of genetic evidence that this long, common haplotype arose rapidly due to recent selection: (1) by use of the traditional F(ST) measure and a novel test based on p(excess), we demonstrate large frequency differences among populations for the persistence-associated markers and for flanking markers throughout the haplotype, and (2) we show that the haplotype is unusually long, given its high frequency--a hallmark of recent selection. We estimate that strong selection occurred within the past 5,000-10,000 years, consistent with an advantage to lactase persistence in the setting of dairy farming; the signals of selection we observe are among the strongest yet seen for any gene in the genome.The American Journal of Human Genetics 07/2004; 74(6):1111-20. · 11.20 Impact Factor