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Eur J Hum Genet. 2004 Jul;12(7):584-90.

Are common disease susceptibility alleles the same in outbred and founder populations?

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


Founder populations have been the subjects of complex disease studies because of their decreased genetic heterogeneity, increased linkage disequilibrium and more homogeneous environmental exposures. However, it is possible that disease alleles identified in founder populations may not contribute significantly to susceptibility in outbred populations. In this study we examine the Hutterites, a founder population of European descent, for 103 polymorphisms in 66 genes that are candidates for cardiovascular or inflammatory diseases. We compare the frequencies of alleles at these loci in the Hutterites to their frequencies in outbred European-American populations and test for associations with cardiovascular disease-associated phenotypes in the Hutterites. We show that alleles at these loci are found at similar frequencies in the Hutterites and in outbred populations. In addition, we report associations between 39 alleles or haplotypes and cardiovascular disease phenotypes (P<0.05), with five loci remaining significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. These data indicate that this founder population is informative and offers considerable advantages for genetic studies of common complex diseases.

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