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Polygenic Prediction of Type 2 Diabetes in Continental Africa

By Tinashe Chikowore, Kenneth Ekoru, Marijana Vujkovic, Dipender Gill, Fraser Pirie, Elizabeth Young, Manjinder Sandhu, Mark McCarthy, Charles Rotimi, Adebowale Adeyemo, Ayesha Motola, Segun Fatumo

Posted 12 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.11.430719

Objective: Polygenic prediction of type 2 diabetes in continental Africans is adversely affected by the limited number of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of type 2 diabetes from Africa, and the poor transferability of European derived polygenic risk scores (PRS) in diverse ethnicities. We set out to evaluate if African American or multi-ethnic derived PRSs would improve polygenic prediction in continental Africans. Research Design and Methods: Using the PRSice software, ethnic-specific PRSs were computed with weights from the type 2 diabetes GWAS of the Million Veteran Program (MVP) study. The South African Zulu study (1602 cases and 976 controls) was used as the target data set. Replication and assessment of the best predictive PRS association with age at diagnosis was done in the Africa America Diabetes Mellitus (AADM) study (1031 cases and 738 controls). Results: The African American derived PRS was more predictive of type 2 diabetes compared to the European and multi-ethnic derived scores. Notably, participants in the 10th decile of this PRS had a 3.19-fold greater risk (OR 3.19; 95%CI (1.94-5.29), p = 5.33 x10-6) of developing diabetes and were diagnosed 2.6 years earlier compared to those in the first decile. Conclusions: African American derived PRS enhances polygenic prediction of type 2 diabetes in continental Africans. Improved representation of non-Europeans populations (including Africans) in GWAS, promises to provide better tools for precision medicine interventions in type 2 diabetes.

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