Jan 15, 2016

Methylation Analysis Reveals Fundamental Differences Between Ethnicity and Genetic Ancestry

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Joshua M GalanterNoah Zaitlen


In clinical practice and biomedical research populations are often divided categorically into distinct racial and ethnic groups. In reality, these categories comprise diverse groups with highly heterogeneous histories, cultures, traditions, religions, as well as social and environmental exposures. While the factors captured by these categories contribute to clinical practice and biomedical research, the use of race/ethnicity is widely debated. As a response to this debate, genetic ancestry has been suggested as a complement or alternative to this categorization. However, few studies have examined the effect of genetic ancestry, racial/ethnic identity, and environmental exposures on biological processes. Herein, we examine the contribution of self-identification within ethnicity, genetic ancestry, and environmental exposures on epigenetic modification of DNA methylation, a phenomenon affected by both genetic and environmental factors. We typed over 450,000 variably methylated CpG sites in primary whole blood of 573 individuals of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who also had high-density genotype data. We found that methylation levels at a large number of CpG sites were significantly associated with ethnicity even when adjusting...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

DNA Methylation [PE]
Whole Blood
Protein Methylation
Identification (Psychology)

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