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2022 ◽  
pp. 1-15
Kaitlyn E. Stepler ◽  
Taneisha R. Gillyard ◽  
Calla B. Reed ◽  
Tyra M. Avery ◽  
Jamaine S. Davis ◽  

African American/Black adults are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) compared to non-Hispanic White adults. Genetics partially contributes to this disparity in AD risk, among other factors, as there are several genetic variants associated with AD that are more prevalent in individuals of African or European ancestry. The phospholipid-transporting ATPase ABCA7 (ABCA7) gene has stronger associations with AD risk in individuals with African ancestry than in individuals with European ancestry. In fact, ABCA7 has been shown to have a stronger effect size than the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele in African American/Black adults. ABCA7 is a transmembrane protein involved in lipid homeostasis and phagocytosis. ABCA7 dysfunction is associated with increased amyloid-beta production, reduced amyloid-beta clearance, impaired microglial response to inflammation, and endoplasmic reticulum stress. This review explores the impact of ABCA7 mutations that increase AD risk in African American/Black adults on ABCA7 structure and function and their contributions to AD pathogenesis. The combination of biochemical/biophysical and ‘omics-based studies of these variants needed to elucidate their downstream impact and molecular contributions to AD pathogenesis is highlighted.

2022 ◽  
Vol 23 (1) ◽  
Yanyu Liang ◽  
Milton Pividori ◽  
Ani Manichaikul ◽  
Abraham A. Palmer ◽  
Nancy J. Cox ◽  

Abstract Background Polygenic risk scores (PRS) are valuable to translate the results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) into clinical practice. To date, most GWAS have been based on individuals of European-ancestry leading to poor performance in populations of non-European ancestry. Results We introduce the polygenic transcriptome risk score (PTRS), which is based on predicted transcript levels (rather than SNPs), and explore the portability of PTRS across populations using UK Biobank data. Conclusions We show that PTRS has a significantly higher portability (Wilcoxon p=0.013) in the African-descent samples where the loss of performance is most acute with better performance than PRS when used in combination.

2022 ◽  
Jennifer E. Huffman ◽  
Guillaume Butler-Laporte ◽  
Atlas Khan ◽  
Erola Pairo-Castineira ◽  
Theodore G. Drivas ◽  

AbstractThe OAS1/2/3 cluster has been identified as a risk locus for severe COVID-19 among individuals of European ancestry, with a protective haplotype of approximately 75 kilobases (kb) derived from Neanderthals in the chromosomal region 12q24.13. This haplotype contains a splice variant of OAS1, which occurs in people of African ancestry independently of gene flow from Neanderthals. Using trans-ancestry fine-mapping approaches in 20,779 hospitalized cases, we demonstrate that this splice variant is likely to be the SNP responsible for the association at this locus, thus strongly implicating OAS1 as an effector gene influencing COVID-19 severity.

2022 ◽  
Vol 7 (1) ◽  
Yi Liu ◽  
Yuqiang Lv ◽  
Mehdi Zarrei ◽  
Rui Dong ◽  
Xiaomeng Yang ◽  

AbstractCopy number variants (CNVs) are recognized as a crucial genetic cause of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA), the first-tier diagnostic test for individuals with NDDs, has been utilized to detect CNVs in clinical practice, but most reports are still from populations of European ancestry. To contribute more worldwide clinical genomics data, we investigated the genetic etiology of 410 Han Chinese patients with NDDs (151 with autism and 259 with unexplained intellectual disability (ID) and developmental delay (DD)) using CMA (Affymetrix) after G-banding karyotyping. Among all the NDD patients, 109 (26.6%) carried clinically relevant CNVs or uniparental disomies (UPDs), and 8 (2.0%) had aneuploidies (6 with trisomy 21 syndrome, 1 with 47,XXY, 1 with 47,XYY). In total, we found 129 clinically relevant CNVs and UPDs, including 32 CNVs in 30 ASD patients, and 92 CNVs and 5 UPDs in 79 ID/DD cases. When excluding the eight patients with aneuploidies, the diagnostic yield of pathogenic and likely pathogenic CNVs and UPDs was 20.9% for all NDDs (84/402), 3.3% in ASD (5/151), and 31.5% in ID/DD (79/251). When aneuploidies were included, the diagnostic yield increased to 22.4% for all NDDs (92/410), and 33.6% for ID/DD (87/259). We identified a de novo CNV in 14.9% (60/402) of subjects with NDDs. Interestingly, a higher diagnostic yield was observed in females (31.3%, 40/128) compared to males (16.1%, 44/274) for all NDDs (P = 4.8 × 10−4), suggesting that a female protective mechanism exists for deleterious CNVs and UPDs.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Kenneth E. Westerman ◽  
Joanna Lin ◽  
Magdalena del Rocio Sevilla-Gonzalez ◽  
Beza Tadess ◽  
Casey Marchek ◽  

Increasing evidence indicates that specific genetic variants influence the severity of outcomes after infection with COVID-19. However, it is not clear whether the effect of these genetic factors is independent of the risk due to more established non-genetic demographic and metabolic risk factors such as male sex, poor cardiometabolic health, and low socioeconomic status. We sought to identify interactions between genetic variants and non-genetic risk factors influencing COVID-19 severity via a genome-wide interaction study in the UK Biobank. Of 378,051 unrelated individuals of European ancestry, 2,402 were classified as having experienced severe COVID-19, defined as hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. Exposures included sex, cardiometabolic risk factors [obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D), tested jointly], and multiple deprivation index. Multiplicative interaction was tested using a logistic regression model, conducting both an interaction test and a joint test of genetic main and interaction effects. Five independent variants reached genome-wide significance in the joint test, one of which also reached significance in the interaction test. One of these, rs2268616 in the placental growth factor (PGF) gene, showed stronger effects in males and in individuals with T2D. None of the five variants showed effects on a similarly-defined phenotype in a lookup in the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative. These results reveal potential additional genetic loci contributing to COVID-19 severity and demonstrate the value of including non-genetic risk factors in an interaction testing approach for genetic discovery.

Mackenzie Postel ◽  
Julie O. Culver ◽  
Charité Ricker ◽  
David Craig

The vast volume of data that has been generated as a result of the next-generation sequencing revolution is overwhelming to sift through and interpret. Parsing functional vs. non-functional and benign vs. pathogenic variants continues to be a challenge. Out of three billion bases, the genomes of two given individuals will only differ by about 3 million variants (0.1%). Furthermore, only a small fraction of these are biologically-relevant and, of those that are functional, only a handful actually drive disease pathology. While whole genome and exome sequencing have transformed our collective understanding of the role that genetics plays in disease pathogenesis, there are certain conditions and populations for whom DNA-level data has failed to produce a molecular diagnosis. Patients of non-White race/non-European ancestry are disproportionately affected by “variants of unknown/uncertain significance” (VUS). This limits the scope of precision medicine for minority patients and perpetuates health disparities. VUS often include deep intronic and splicing variants which are difficult to interpret in DNA alone. RNA analysis is capable of illuminating the consequences of VUS thereby allowing for their reclassification as pathogenic vs. benign. Here we review the critical role, going forward, of transcriptome analysis for clarifying VUS in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Li-Juan Qiu ◽  
Kang-Jia Yin ◽  
Gui-Xia Pan ◽  
Jing Ni ◽  
Bin Wang

Background: Asthma is observationally associated with an increased risk of COVID-19, but the causality remains unclear. We aim to determine whether there is a casual role of asthma in susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 severity.Methods: Instrumental variables (IVs) for asthma and moderate-to-severe asthma were obtained from publicly available summary statistics from the most recent and largest genome-wide association study (GWAS), including 394 283 and 57 695 participants of European ancestry, respectively. The corresponding data for COVID-19 susceptibility, hospitalization and severe-disease were derived from the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative GWAS meta-analysis of up to 1 683 768 individuals of European descent. Causality was inferred between correlated traits by Mendelian Randomization analyses. Inverse-variance weighted method was used as the primary MR estimates and multiple alternate approaches and several sensitivity analyses were also conducted.Results: Our MR analysis revealed no causal effects of asthma on COVID-19 susceptibility, hospitalization or severe disease, with odds ratio (OR) of 0.994 (95% CI: 0.962–1.027), 1.020 (95% CI: 0.955–1.089), and 0.929 (95% CI: 0.836–1.032), respectively. Furthermore, using genetic variants for moderate-to-severe asthma, a similar pattern of results was observed for COVID-19 susceptibility (OR: 0.988, 95% CI: 0.946–1.031), hospitalization (OR: 0.967, 95% CI: 0.906–1.031), and severe disease (OR: 0.911, 95% CI: 0.823–1.009). The association of asthma and moderate-to-severe asthma with COVID-19 was overall robust to sensitivity analyses.Conclusion: Genetically predicted asthma was not associated with susceptibility to, or severity of, COVID-19 disease, indicating that asthma is unlikely to be a causal factor in the development of COVID-19.

2022 ◽  
Carolina Bonilla ◽  
Cilia Mejia-Lancheros

Background: Skin cancer incidence has been increasing worldwide, representing a particularly high burden for populations of European ancestry. Outdoor and indoor tanning using ultraviolet radiation (UVR) devices are major risk factors for skin cancer. While tanning behaviours can be modified by targeted interventions to reduce skin cancer rates, there is insufficient evidence on the motivations for tanning preferences and their relationship with pigmentation phenotypes. The present observational and genetically-informed study investigates motives for tanning and the role that pigmentation phenotypes play on outdoor and indoor tanning behaviour in British young adults. Methods: This study included 3722 participants from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in South West England. Skin, hair and eye colour features, and tanning ability and preferences were collected using a questionnaire applied when participants were ~25 years of age. Genotypes for 41 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with pigmentation were obtained from a subset of participants who provided a biological sample, and used to estimate the probability of having particular pigmentation traits with the HIrisPlex-S system. Results: Liking to tan and outdoor tanning were strongly influenced by skin, hair and eye pigmentation, and tanning ability. However, the association of these traits with UV indoor tanning was weaker. Conversely, females, participants of lower socioeconomic position, individuals who were unhappy with their pigmentation phenotype during adolescence, and participants who believed that tanning helps prevent sunburn were more likely to have used UVR-based tanning devices. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence to support the implementation of skin cancer preventative interventions that consider individual biological characteristics and motives for undergoing outdoor and indoor tanning.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Yong-Bo Wang ◽  
Si-Yu Yan ◽  
Xu-Hui Li ◽  
Qiao Huang ◽  
Li-Sha Luo ◽  

Background: Previous observational studies have reported a bidirectional association between periodontitis and type 2 diabetes, but the causality of these relationships remains unestablished. We clarified the bidirectional causal association through two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR).Methods: We obtained summary-level data for periodontitis and type 2 diabetes from several published large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of individuals of European ancestry. For the casual effect of periodontitis on type 2 diabetes, we used five independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) specific to periodontitis from three GWAS. The summary statistics for the associations of exposure-related SNPs with type 2 diabetes were drawn from the GWAS in the Diabetes Genetics Replication and Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) consortium and the FinnGen consortium R5 release, respectively. For the reversed causal inference, 132 and 49 SNPs associated with type 2 diabetes from the DIAGRAM consortium and the FinnGen consortium R5 release were included, and the summary-level statistics were obtained from the Gene-Lifestyle Interactions in Dental Endpoints consortium. Multiple approaches of MR were carried out.Results: Periodontitis was not causally related with the risk of type 2 diabetes (all p > 0.05). No causal effect of type 2 diabetes on periodontitis was found (all p > 0.05). Estimates were consistent across multiple MR analyses.Conclusion: This study based on genetic data does not support a bidirectional causal association between periodontitis and type 2 diabetes.

2022 ◽  
Loic Yengo ◽  
Sailaja Vedantam ◽  
Eirini Marouli ◽  
Julia Sidorenko ◽  
Eric Bartell ◽  

Common SNPs are predicted to collectively explain 40-50% of phenotypic variation in human height, but identifying the specific variants and associated regions requires huge sample sizes. Here we show, using GWAS data from 5.4 million individuals of diverse ancestries, that 12,111 independent SNPs that are significantly associated with height account for nearly all of the common SNP-based heritability. These SNPs are clustered within 7,209 non-overlapping genomic segments with a median size of ~90 kb, covering ~21% of the genome. The density of independent associations varies across the genome and the regions of elevated density are enriched for biologically relevant genes. In out-of-sample estimation and prediction, the 12,111 SNPs account for 40% of phenotypic variance in European ancestry populations but only ~10%-20% in other ancestries. Effect sizes, associated regions, and gene prioritization are similar across ancestries, indicating that reduced prediction accuracy is likely explained by linkage disequilibrium and allele frequency differences within associated regions. Finally, we show that the relevant biological pathways are detectable with smaller sample sizes than needed to implicate causal genes and variants. Overall, this study, the largest GWAS to date, provides an unprecedented saturated map of specific genomic regions containing the vast majority of common height-associated variants.

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