Northern Euros whiter than Southern Euros

More ASHG 2008:
Frequency distribution and selection in 4 pigmentation genes in Europe. M. P. Donnelly, W. C. Speed, J. R. Kidd, A. J. Pakstis, K. K. Kidd Dept Genetics, Yale Univ Sch Med.

Pigmentation is one of the more obvious forms of variation in humans, particularly in Europeans where one sees more within group variation in hair and eye pigmentation than in the rest of the world. We studied 4 genes (SLC24A5, SLC45A2, OCA2 and MC1R) that are believed to contribute to the pigment phenotypes in Europeans. SLC24A5 has a single functional variant that leads to lighter skin pigmentation. Data on 83 populations worldwide (including 55 from our lab) show the variant (at rs1426654) has almost reached fixation in Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa, has moderate to high frequencies (.2-.9) throughout Central Asia, and has frequencies of .1-.3 in East and South Africa. The variant is essentially absent elsewhere. SLC45A2 also has a single functional variant (at rs16891982) associated with light skin pigmentation in Europe. Data on 84 populations worldwide show the light skin allele is nearly fixed in Northern Europe but has lower frequencies in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. In Central Asia the frequency of the SLC45A2 variant declines more quickly than the SLC24A5 variant. It is absent in both East and South Africa. In OCA2 we typed 4 SNPs (rs4778138, rs4778241, rs7495174, rs12913832) with a haplotype associated with blue eyes in Europeans. This haplotype shows a Southeastern to Northwestern pattern in Europe with frequencies of .25 (.05 homozygous) in the Adygei to .85 (.75 homozygous) in the Danes. In MC1R we typed 5 SNPs (rs3212345, rs3212357, rs3212363, C_25958294_10, rs7191944) that cover the entire MC1R gene and found a predominantly European haplotype that ranges in frequency from .35 to .65 in Europe, reaching its highest levels in Southwest Asia and Northwestern Europe. Extended Haplotype Heterozygosity (EHH) and normalized Haplosimilarity (nHS) show evidence of selection at SLC24A5 in not only our European and Southwest Asian populations but also our East African populations. Neither SLC45A2 or OCA2 showed evidence of selection in either test. MC1R did not show evidence of selection for our European specific haplotype but we did see some evidence both upstream and downstream in our nHS test in Europe.

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