73 research outputs found

    Population analysis of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and the role of genetic ancestry in an admixed population

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    The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is an essential protein related to bone metabolism. Some VDR alleles are differentially distributed among ethnic populations and display variable patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD). In this study, 200 unrelated Brazilians were genotyped using 21 VDR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 28 ancestry informative markers. The patterns of LD and haplotype distribution were compared among Brazilian and the HapMap populations of African (YRI), European (CEU) and Asian (JPT+CHB) origins. Conditional regression and haplotype-specific analysis were performed using estimates of individual genetic ancestry in Brazilians as a quantitative trait. Similar patterns of LD were observed in the 5′ and 3′ gene regions. However, the frequency distribution of haplotype blocks varied among populations. Conditional regression analysis identified haplotypes associated with European and Amerindian ancestry, but not with the proportion of African ancestry. Individual ancestry estimates were associated with VDR haplotypes. These findings reinforce the need to correct for population stratification when performing genetic association studies in admixed populations

    Cultural Phylogenetics of the Tupi Language Family in Lowland South America

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    Background: Recent advances in automated assessment of basic vocabulary lists allow the construction of linguistic phylogenies useful for tracing dynamics of human population expansions, reconstructing ancestral cultures, and modeling transition rates of cultural traits over time. Methods: Here we investigate the Tupi expansion, a widely-dispersed language family in lowland South America, with a distance-based phylogeny based on 40-word vocabulary lists from 48 languages. We coded 11 cultural traits across the diverse Tupi family including traditional warfare patterns, post-marital residence, corporate structure, community size, paternity beliefs, sibling terminology, presence of canoes, tattooing, shamanism, men’s houses, and lip plugs. Results/Discussion: The linguistic phylogeny supports a Tupi homeland in west-central Brazil with subsequent major expansions across much of lowland South America. Consistently, ancestral reconstructions of cultural traits over the linguistic phylogeny suggest that social complexity has tended to decline through time, most notably in the independent emergence of several nomadic hunter-gatherer societies. Estimated rates of cultural change across the Tupi expansion are on the order of only a few changes per 10,000 years, in accord with previous cultural phylogenetic results in other languag