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Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Nov;18(11):1248-54. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.87. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Population structure and genome-wide patterns of variation in Ireland and Britain.

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  • 1Neuropsychiatric Genetics Research Group, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Abstract

Located off the northwestern coast of the European mainland, Britain and Ireland were among the last regions of Europe to be colonized by modern humans after the last glacial maximum. Further, the geographical location of Britain, and in particular of Ireland, is such that the impact of historical migration has been minimal. Genetic diversity studies applying the Y chromosome and mitochondrial systems have indicated reduced diversity and an increased population structure across Britain and Ireland relative to the European mainland. Such characteristics would have implications for genetic mapping studies of complex disease. We set out to further our understanding of the genetic architecture of the region from the perspective of (i) population structure, (ii) linkage disequilibrium (LD), (iii) homozygosity and (iv) haplotype diversity (HD). Analysis was conducted on 3654 individuals from Ireland, Britain (with regional sampling in Scotland), Bulgaria, Portugal, Sweden and the Utah HapMap collection. Our results indicate a subtle but clear genetic structure across Britain and Ireland, although levels of structure were reduced in comparison with average cross-European structure. We observed slightly elevated levels of LD and homozygosity in the Irish population compared with neighbouring European populations. We also report on a cline of HD across Europe with greatest levels in southern populations and lowest levels in Ireland and Scotland. These results are consistent with our understanding of the population history of Europe and promote Ireland and Scotland as relatively homogenous resources for genetic mapping of rare variants.

PMID:
20571510
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2987482
Free PMC Article
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