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BMC Evol Biol. 2010 Sep 1;10:267. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-267.

African signatures of recent positive selection in human FOXI1.

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  • 1Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva UPF-CSIC, Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The human FOXI1 gene codes for a transcription factor involved in the physiology of the inner ear, testis, and kidney. Using three interspecies comparisons, it has been suggested that this may be a gene under human-specific selection. We sought to confirm this finding by using an extended set of orthologous sequences. Additionally, we explored for signals of natural selection within humans by sequencing the gene in 20 Europeans, 20 East Asians and 20 Yorubas and by analysing SNP variation in a 2 Mb region centered on FOXI1 in 39 worldwide human populations from the HGDP-CEPH diversity panel.

RESULTS:

The genome sequences recently available from other primate and non-primate species showed that FOXI1 divergence patterns are compatible with neutral evolution. Sequence-based neutrality tests were not significant in Europeans, East Asians or Yorubas. However, the Long Range Haplotype (LRH) test, as well as the iHS and XP-Rsb statistics revealed significantly extended tracks of homozygosity around FOXI1 in Africa, suggesting a recent episode of positive selection acting on this gene. A functionally relevant SNP, as well as several SNPs either on the putatively selected core haplotypes or with significant iHS or XP-Rsb values, displayed allele frequencies strongly correlated with the absolute geographical latitude of the populations sampled.

CONCLUSIONS:

We present evidence for recent positive selection in the FOXI1 gene region in Africa. Climate might be related to this recent adaptive event in humans. Of the multiple functions of FOXI1, its role in kidney-mediated water-electrolyte homeostasis is the most obvious candidate for explaining a climate-related adaptation.

PMID:
20809947
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2939579
Free PMC Article
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