Cosmopolitan and ethnic-specific replication of genetic risk factors for asthma in 2 Latino populations

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Jul;128(1):37-43.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.03.050. Epub 2011 May 28.


Background: Although Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are jointly classified as "Hispanic/Latino," there are significant differences in asthma prevalence, severity, and mortality between the 2 groups. We sought to examine the possibility that population-specific genetic risks contribute to this disparity.

Objectives: More than 100 candidate genes have been associated with asthma and replicated in an independent population, and 7 genome-wide association studies in asthma have been performed. We compared the pattern of replication of these associations in Puerto Ricans and Mexicans.

Methods: We genotyped Mexican and Puerto Rican trios using an Affymetrix 6.0 GeneChip and used a family-based analysis to test for genetic associations in 124 genes previously associated with asthma.

Results: We identified 32 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 17 genes associated with asthma in at least 1 of the 2 populations. Twenty-two of these SNPs in 11 genes were significantly associated with asthma in the combined population and showed no significant heterogeneity of association, whereas 5 SNPs were associated in only 1 population and showed statistically significant heterogeneity. In a gene-based approach 2 additional genes were associated with asthma in the combined population, and 3 additional genes displayed ethnic-specific associations with heterogeneity.

Conclusions: Our results show that only a minority of genetic association studies replicate in our population of Mexican and Puerto Rican asthmatic subjects. Among SNPs that were successfully replicated, most showed no significant heterogeneity across populations. However, we identified several population-specific genetic associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / ethnology
  • Asthma / genetics*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hispanic Americans / ethnology
  • Hispanic Americans / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / genetics
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult