Opportunities to directly study the founding of a human population and its subsequent evolutionary history are rare. Using genome sequence data from 27 ancient Icelanders, we demonstrate that they are a combination of Norse, Gaelic, and admixed individuals. We further show that these ancient Icelanders are markedly more similar to their source populations in Scandinavia and the British-Irish Isles than to contemporary Icelanders, who have been shaped by 1100 years of extensive genetic drift. Finally, we report evidence of unequal contributions from the ancient founders to the contemporary Icelandic gene pool. These results provide detailed insights into the making of a human population that has proven extraordinarily useful for the discovery of genotype-phenotype associations.
CommentIn: Science. 2018 Jun 1;360(6392):964-965 PMID 29853673
Genetic variants in ankyrin 3 (ANK3) have recently been shown to be associated with bipolar disorder (BD). We genotyped three ANK3 SNPs previously found to be associated with BD (rs10994336, rs1938526, and rs9804190) in a Scandinavian BD case-control sample (N = 854/2,614). Due to evidence of genetic overlap between BD and schizophrenia (SZ), we also genotyped these three SNPs in a Scandinavian SZ case-control sample (N = 1,073/2,919). Combining our Scandinavian samples with an Icelandic sample (N = 435 BD cases, 651 SZ cases, and 11,491 healthy controls), we found rs10994336 and rs9804190 to be nominally significantly associated with BD in this combined Nordic BD sample (N = 1,289/14,105). Nominal P was 0.015/0.018 (fixed/random effect) for rs10994336 (Bonferroni corrected P = 0.044/0.053) and 0.023 for rs9804190 (Bonferroni corrected P = 0.069). None of the SNPs were significantly associated with SZ in the combined Nordic SZ case-control sample (N = 1,724/14,410). These results further support that ANK3 is a susceptibility gene specific to BD and that more than one risk locus is involved.
Several lines of evidence support the theory of schizophrenia (SZ) being a neurodevelopmental disorder. The structural, cytoarchitectural and functional brain abnormalities reported in patients with SZ, might be due to aberrant neuronal migration, since the final position of neurons affects neuronal function, morphology, and formation of synaptic connections. We have investigated the putative association between SZ and gene variants engaged in the neuronal migration process, by performing an association study on 839 cases and 1,473 controls of Scandinavian origin. Using a gene-wide approach, tagSNPs in 18 candidate genes have been genotyped, with gene products involved in the neuron-to-glial cell adhesion, interactions with the DISC1 protein and/or rearrangements of the cytoskeleton. Of the 289 markers tested, 19 markers located in genes MDGA1, RELN, ITGA3, DLX1, SPARCL1, and ASTN1, attained nominal significant P-values (P
Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1), located on chromosome 1q42.1, is linked to rare familial schizophrenia in a large Scottish family. The chromosomal translocation that segregates with the disease results in a truncated protein that impairs neurite outgrowth and proper development of the cerebral cortex, suggesting that lost DISC1 function may underlie neurodevelopmental dysfunction in schizophrenia. DISC1 has been associated with schizophrenia in multiple populations, but there is little evidence of convergence across populations. In the present case-control study three Scandinavian samples of 837 individuals affected with schizophrenia and 1473 controls, were used in an attempt to replicate previously reported associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DISC1 and schizophrenia. No SNP with allele frequency above 10% was significantly associated with the disease after correction for multiple testing. However, the minor allele of rs3737597 (frequency 2%) in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR), previously identified as a risk allele in Finnish families, was significantly and consistently associated with the disorder across the three samples, (p-value corrected for multiple testing was 0.002). Our results suggest that a relatively uncommon DISC1 mutation, which increases the susceptibility for schizophrenia may be segregating in the Scandinavian population, and support the view that common DISC1 SNP alleles are unlikely to account for a substantial proportion of the genetic risk of the disease across populations of European descent.
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder with a strong genetic influence where copy number variations are suggested to play a role in disease pathogenesis. In a previous small-scale copy number variation study of a GTS cohort (n = 111), recurrent exon-affecting microdeletions of four genes, including the gene encoding arylacetamide deacetylase (AADAC), were observed and merited further investigations.
We screened a Danish cohort of 243 GTS patients and 1571 control subjects for submicroscopic deletions and duplications of these four genes. The most promising candidate gene, AADAC, identified in this Danish discovery sample was further investigated in cohorts from Iceland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, and Italy, and a final meta-analysis, including a total of 1181 GTS patients and 118,730 control subjects from these six European countries, was performed. Subsequently, expression of the candidate gene in the central nervous system was investigated using human and mouse brain tissues.
In the Danish cohort, we identified eight patients with overlapping deletions of AADAC. Investigation of the additional five countries showed a significant association between the AADAC deletion and GTS, and a final meta-analysis confirmed the significant association (p = 4.4 ? 10(-4); odds ratio = 1.9; 95% confidence interval = 1.33-2.71). Furthermore, RNA in situ hybridization and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction studies revealed that AADAC is expressed in several brain regions previously implicated in GTS pathology.
AADAC is a candidate susceptibility factor for GTS and the present findings warrant further genomic and functional studies to investigate the role of this gene in the pathogenesis of GTS.
Comment In: Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 1;79(5):341-226847659
The MCTP2 gene is involved in intercellular signal transduction and synapse function. We genotyped 37 tagging SNPs across the MCTP2 gene to study a possible association with schizophrenia in three independent Scandinavian samples. We report, for the first time, a possible involvement of MCTP2 as a potential novel susceptibility gene for schizophrenia.
The phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B), which is involved in cognitive function in animal models, is a candidate susceptibility gene for schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BP). Variations in PDE4B have previously been associated with SZ, with a suggested gender-specific effect. We have genotyped and analyzed 40 and 72 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs) in SZ and BP multicenter samples, respectively, from the Scandinavian Collaboration on Psychiatric Etiology (SCOPE), involving 837 SZ cases and 1,473 controls plus 594 BP cases and 1,421 partly overlapping controls. Six and 16 tagSNPs were nominally associated (0.0005
Protein encoding genes have long been the major targets for research in schizophrenia genetics. However, with the identification of regulatory microRNAs (miRNAs) as important in brain development and function, miRNAs genes have emerged as candidates for schizophrenia-associated genetic factors. Indeed, the growing understanding of the regulatory properties and pleiotropic effects that miRNA have on molecular and cellular mechanisms, suggests that alterations in the interactions between miRNAs and their mRNA targets may contribute to phenotypic variation.
We have studied the association between schizophrenia and genetic variants of miRNA genes associated with brain-expression using a case-control study design on three Scandinavian samples. Eighteen known SNPs within or near brain-expressed miRNAs in three samples (Danish, Swedish and Norwegian: 420/163/257 schizophrenia patients and 1006/177/293 control subjects), were analyzed. Subsequently, joint analysis of the three samples was performed on SNPs showing marginal association. Two SNPs rs17578796 and rs1700 in hsa-mir-206 (mir-206) and hsa-mit-198 (mir-198) showed nominal significant allelic association to schizophrenia in the Danish and Norwegian sample respectively (P = 0.0021 & p = 0.038), of which only rs17578796 was significant in the joint sample. In-silico analysis revealed that 8 of the 15 genes predicted to be regulated by both mir-206 and mir-198, are transcriptional targets or interaction partners of the JUN, ATF2 and TAF1 connected in a tight network. JUN and two of the miRNA targets (CCND2 and PTPN1) in the network have previously been associated with schizophrenia.
We found nominal association between brain-expressed miRNAs and schizophrenia for rs17578796 and rs1700 located in mir-206 and mir-198 respectively. These two miRNAs have a surprising large number (15) of targets in common, eight of which are also connected by the same transcription factors.
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The main objective of the study was to find combinations of genetic variants significantly associated with bipolar disorder. In a previous study of bipolar disorder, combinations of three single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes taken from 803 SNPs were analyzed, and four clusters of combinations were found to be significantly associated with bipolar disorder. In the present study, combinations of four SNP genotypes taken from the same 803 SNPs were analyzed, and one cluster of combinations was found to be significantly associated with bipolar disorder. Combinations from the new cluster and from the four previous clusters were identified in the genomes of 209 of the 607 patients in the study whereas none of the 1355 control participants had any of these combinations in their genome.
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In two recent studies 10 copy number variants (CNV) were found to be overrepresented either among patients suffering from affective disorders in an Amish family or in the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium study. Here, we investigate if these variants are associated with affective disorders in a combined analysis of three case-control samples from Denmark, Norway and Iceland. A total of 1897 cases (n=1223 unipolar and n=463 bipolar) and 11 231 controls were analyzed for CNVs at the 10 genomic loci, but we found no combined association between these CNVs and affective disorders.