Biology Faculty Articles

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3 e1712

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When a selective sweep occurs in the chromosomal region around a target gene in two populations that have recently separated, it produces three dramatic genomic consequences: 1) decreased multi-locus heterozygosity in the region; 2) elevated or diminished genetic divergence (FST) of multiple polymorphic variants adjacent to the selected locus between the divergent populations, due to the alternative fixation of alleles; and 3) a consequent regional increase in the variance of FST (S2FST) for the same clustered variants, due to the increased alternative fixation of alleles in the loci surrounding the selection target. In the first part of our study, to search for potential targets of directional selection, we developed and validated a resampling-based computational approach; we then scanned an array of 31 different-sized moving windows of SNP variants (5–65 SNPs) across the human genome in a set of European and African American population samples with 183,997 SNP loci after correcting for the recombination rate variation. The analysis revealed 180 regions of recent selection with very strong evidence in either population or both. In the second part of our study, we compared the newly discovered putative regions to those sites previously postulated in the literature, using methods based on inspecting patterns of linkage disequilibrium, population divergence and other methodologies. The newly found regions were cross-validated with those found in nine other studies that have searched for selection signals. Our study was replicated especially well in those regions confirmed by three or more studies. These validated regions were independently verified, using a combination of different methods and different databases in other studies, and should include fewer false positives. The main strength of our analysis method compared to others is that it does not require dense genotyping and therefore can be used with data from population-based genome SNP scans from smaller studies of humans or other species.


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.

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National Cancer Institute contract #: N01-CO-12400





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