Analysis and application of European genetic substructure using 300 K SNP information

PLoS Genet. 2008 Jan;4(1):e4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0040004.


European population genetic substructure was examined in a diverse set of >1,000 individuals of European descent, each genotyped with >300 K SNPs. Both STRUCTURE and principal component analyses (PCA) showed the largest division/principal component (PC) differentiated northern from southern European ancestry. A second PC further separated Italian, Spanish, and Greek individuals from those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry as well as distinguishing among northern European populations. In separate analyses of northern European participants other substructure relationships were discerned showing a west to east gradient. Application of this substructure information was critical in examining a real dataset in whole genome association (WGA) analyses for rheumatoid arthritis in European Americans to reduce false positive signals. In addition, two sets of European substructure ancestry informative markers (ESAIMs) were identified that provide substantial substructure information. The results provide further insight into European population genetic substructure and show that this information can be used for improving error rates in association testing of candidate genes and in replication studies of WGA scans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Ireland / ethnology
  • Jews / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Principal Component Analysis*
  • United States
  • Whites / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • DNA