|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Martin, AR, Teferra, S, Möller, M, Hoal, EG, Daly, MJ|
|Journal||Curr Opin Genet Dev|
|Date Published||2018 12|
Human genetic studies have long been vastly Eurocentric, raising a key question about the generalizability of these study findings to other populations. Because humans originated in Africa, these populations retain more genetic diversity, and yet individuals of African descent have been tremendously underrepresented in genetic studies. The diversity in Africa affords ample opportunities to improve fine-mapping resolution for associated loci, discover novel genetic associations with phenotypes, build more generalizable genetic risk prediction models, and better understand the genetic architecture of complex traits and diseases subject to varying environmental pressures. Thus, it is both ethically and scientifically imperative that geneticists globally surmount challenges that have limited progress in African genetic studies to date. Additionally, African investigators need to be meaningfully included, as greater inclusivity and enhanced research capacity afford enormous opportunities to accelerate genomic discoveries that translate more effectively to all populations. We review the advantages, challenges, and examples of genetic architecture studies of complex traits and diseases in Africa. For example, with greater genetic diversity comes greater ancestral heterogeneity; this higher level of understudied diversity can yield novel genetic findings, but some methods that assume homogeneous population structure and work well in European populations may work less well in the presence of greater heterogeneity in African populations. Consequently, we advocate for methodological development that will accelerate studies important for all populations, especially those currently underrepresented in genetics.
|Alternate Journal||Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev.|
|Grant List||K99 MH117229 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States|