Population and genomic lessons from genetic analysis of two Indian populations

Hum Genet. 2014 Oct;133(10):1273-87. doi: 10.1007/s00439-014-1462-0. Epub 2014 Jul 1.


Indian demographic history includes special features such as founder effects, interpopulation segregation, complex social structure with a caste system and elevated frequency of consanguineous marriages. It also presents a higher frequency for some rare mendelian disorders and in the last two decades increased prevalence of some complex disorders. Despite the fact that India represents about one-sixth of the human population, deep genetic studies from this terrain have been scarce. In this study, we analyzed high-density genotyping and whole-exome sequencing data of a North and a South Indian population. Indian populations show higher differentiation levels than those reported between populations of other continents. In this work, we have analyzed its consequences, by specifically assessing the transferability of genetic markers from or to Indian populations. We show that there is limited genetic marker portability from available genetic resources such as HapMap or the 1,000 Genomes Project to Indian populations, which also present an excess of private rare variants. Conversely, tagSNPs show a high level of portability between the two Indian populations, in contrast to the common belief that North and South Indian populations are genetically very different. By estimating kinship from mates and consanguinity in our data from trios, we also describe different patterns of assortative mating and inbreeding in the two populations, in agreement with distinct mating preferences and social structures. In addition, this analysis has allowed us to describe genomic regions under recent adaptive selection, indicating differential adaptive histories for North and South Indian populations. Our findings highlight the importance of considering demography for design and analysis of genetic studies, as well as the need for extending human genetic variation catalogs to new populations and particularly to those with particular demographic histories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / genetics
  • Consanguinity
  • Exome
  • Founder Effect
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genotyping Techniques / methods
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • India
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Metagenomics*
  • Nuclear Family
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Selection, Genetic
  • White People / genetics