The portability of tagSNPs across populations: a worldwide survey.

Genome research

PubMedID: 16467560

González-Neira A, Ke X, Lao O, Calafell F, Navarro A, Comas D, Cann H, Bumpstead S, Ghori J, Hunt S, Deloukas P, Dunham I, Cardon LR, Bertranpetit J. The portability of tagSNPs across populations: a worldwide survey. Genome Res. 2006;16(3):323-30.
In the search for common genetic variants that contribute to prevalent human diseases, patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) among linked markers should be considered when selecting SNPs. Genotyping efficiency can be increased by choosing tagging SNPs (tagSNPs) in LD with other SNPs. However, it remains to be seen whether tagSNPs defined in one population efficiently capture LD in other populations; that is, how portable tagSNPs are. Indeed, tagSNP portability is a challenge for the applicability of HapMap results. We analyzed 144 SNPs in a 1-Mb region of chromosome 22 in 1055 individuals from 38 worldwide populations, classified into seven continental groups. We measured tagSNP portability by choosing three reference populations (to approximate the three HapMap populations), defining tagSNPs, and applying them to other populations independently on the availability of information on the tagSNPs in the compared population. We found that tagSNPs are highly informative in other populations within each continental group. Moreover, tagSNPs defined in Europeans are often efficient for Middle Eastern and Central/South Asian populations. TagSNPs defined in the three reference populations are also efficient for more distant and differentiated populations (Oceania, Americas), in which the impact of their special demographic history on the genetic structure does not interfere with successfully detecting the most common haplotype variation. This high degree of portability lends promise to the search for disease association in different populations, once tagSNPs are defined in a few reference populations like those analyzed in the HapMap initiative.