Genome-wide analyses disclose the distinctive HLA architecture and the pharmacogenetic landscape of the Somali population

Genome-wide analyses disclose the distinctive HLA architecture and the pharmacogenetic landscape of the Somali population

Authors: AbshirA.Ali, Mikko Aalto, Jon Jonasson & Abdimajid Osman
African populations are underrepresented in medical genomics studies. For the Somali population, there is virtually no information on genomic markers with signifcance to precision medicine. Here,
we analyzed nearly 900,000 genomic markers in samples collected from 95 unrelated individuals in the North Eastern Somalia. ADMIXTURE program for estimation of individual ancestries revealed a homogenous Somali population. Principal component analysis with PLINK software showed approximately 60% East African and 40% West Eurasian genes in the Somali population, with a close relation to the Cushitic and Semitic speaking Ethiopian populations. We report the unique features of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in the Somali population, which seem to diferentiate from all other neighboring regions compared. Current study identifed high prevalence of the diabetes type 1. (T1D) predisposing HLA DR-DQ haplotypes in Somalia. This fnding may explain the increased T1D risk observed among Somali children. In addition, ethnic Somalis were found to host the highest frequencies observed thus far for several pharmacogenetic variants, including UGT1A4*2. In conclusion, we report that the Somali population displays genetic traits of signifcance to health and disease. The Somali dataset is publicly available and will add more information to the few genomic datasets available for African populations.

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