Alkes Price, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Department of Biostatistics 665 Huntington Avenue Building 2, Room 211 Boston, Massachusetts 02115. 617.432.2262. firstname.lastname@example.org
|The amount of proteins produced in cells—a fundamental determinant of biological outcomes collectively known as gene expression—varies in African American individuals depending on their proportion of African or European genetic ancestry. These findings, by researchers based in Boston, Philadelphia and Oxford, are published December 5 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.|
Gene expression is known to vary among individuals and to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Previous studies have reported gene expression differences among human populations, but it has been suggested that this could be due to non-genetic effects.
In this study, the researchers show that gene expression levels in African Americans vary as a function of each individual's proportion of European ancestry. The differences due to ancestry (i.e. population differences between all Africans and all Europeans) were generally small—much smaller than differences between individuals within the same population; nevertheless, the authors were able to draw a distinction between effects of genetic ancestry at the location of the expressed gene (cis) and genetic ancestry elsewhere in the genome (trans). They conclude that only about 12% of heritable variation in human gene expression is due to cis regulation.
First author Alkes Price says, "It was a surprise that these conclusions could be drawn given that the differences due to genetic ancestry are so small." However, he cautioned that the results were confined to gene expression levels in a particular type of tissue known as lymphoblastoid cell lines, and have yet to be verified in other tissue types. ###
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal (link will go live on Friday, December 5)
CITATION: Price AL, Patterson N, Hancks DC, Myers S, Reich D, et al. (2008) Effects of cis and trans Genetic Ancestry on Gene Expression in African Americans. PLoS Genet 4(12): e1000294. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000294
CONTACT: Alkes Price Assistant Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Harvard School of Public Health email@example.com
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