Gene expression in African Americans and Latinos reveals ancestry-specific patterns of genetic architecture
Angel C.Y. Mak,
Jennifer R. Elhawary,
Kevin L. Keys,
Sam S. Oh,
Max A. Seibold,
José R. Rodríguez-Santana,
Michael A. LeNoir,
L. Keoki Williams,
Luisa N. Borrell,
Christopher R Gignoux,
Noah A. Zaitlen,
Esteban G. Burchard,
Posted 19 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.19.456901
Posted 19 Aug 2021
We explored the role of genetic ancestry in shaping the genetic architecture of whole blood gene expression using whole genome and RNA sequencing data from 2,733 African American and Hispanic/Latino children. We find that heritability of gene expression significantly increases with greater proportion of genome-wide African ancestry and decreases with higher levels of Indigenous American ancestry. Fine-mapping of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in individuals with predominantly African or Indigenous American ancestry revealed ancestry-specific eQTLs in over 30% of heritable genes. We leveraged our data to train genetically derived transcriptome prediction models, which identified significantly more associated genes when applied to 28 traits from a multi-ancestry population. Our findings underscore the importance of increasing representation from ancestrally diverse populations in genomic studies to enable new discoveries and ensure their equitable translation.
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