Next PoBI paper should be more interesting

Another ICHG/ASHG 2011 abstract:
People of the British Isles: An analysis of fine-scale population structure in a UK control population. S. Leslie1, B. Winney1, G. Hellenthal2, S. Myers2, A. Boumertit1, T. Day1, K. Hutnik1, E. Royrvik1, D. Lawson3, D. Falush4, P. Donnelly2, W. Bodmer1 1) Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; 2) Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; 3) Department of Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom; 4) Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.

There is a great deal of interest in fine scale population structure in the UK, both as a signature of historical immigration events and because of the effect population structure may have on disease association studies. Although population structure appears to have a minor impact on the current generation of genome-wide association studies, it is likely to play a significant part in the next generation of studies designed to search for rare variants. A powerful means of detecting such structure is to control and document carefully the provenance of the samples involved. Here we describe the collection of a cohort of rural UK samples (The People of the British Isles), aimed at providing a well-characterised UK control population that can be used as a resource by the research community as well as providing fine scale genetic information on the British population. So far, some 4000 samples have been collected, the majority of which fit the criteria of coming from a rural area and having all four grandparents from approximately the same area. Three thousand samples were genotyped on the Illumina 1.2M and Affymetrix v6.0 platforms as part of WTCCC2. Using a novel clustering algorithm that takes into account linkage disequilibrium structure, approximately 3000 of the samples were clustered, using these comprehensive genotyping data, into more than 50 groups purely as a function of their genetic similarities without any reference to their know locations. When the appropriate geographical position of each individual within a cluster is plotted on a map of the UK, there is a striking association between clusters and geography, which reflects to a major extent the known history of the British peoples. Thus, for example, even individuals from Cornwall and Devon, the two adjacent counties in the southwestern tip of Britain, fall into different, but coherent clusters. Further details of this comprehensive analysis of the genetic structure of the People of the British Isles, together with a description of the provenance of the samples, will be give in the presentation. We believe that this is the first time that such a detailed fine scale genetic structure of a population of generally very similar individuals has been possible. This has been achieved through, on the one hand, a careful geographically structured collection of samples and, on the other hand, an approach to analysis that takes into account fully the linkage disequilibrium structure of the population.

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