Anterior chamber depth (ACD) is a key anatomical risk factor for primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG). We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on ACD to discover novel genes for PACG on a total of 5,308 population-based individuals of Asian descent. Genome-wide significant association was observed at a sequence variant within ABCC5 (rs1401999; per-allele effect size = -0.045 mm, P = 8.17 × 10(-9)). This locus was associated with an increase in risk of PACG in a separate case-control study of 4,276 PACG cases and 18,801 controls (per-allele OR = 1.13 [95% CI: 1.06-1.22], P = 0.00046). The association was strengthened when a sub-group of controls with open angles were included in the analysis (per-allele OR = 1.30, P = 7.45 × 10(-9); 3,458 cases vs. 3,831 controls). Our findings suggest that the increase in PACG risk could in part be mediated by genetic sequence variants influencing anterior chamber dimensions.
The macaque parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a significant concern in Malaysia where cases of human infection are increasing. Parasites infecting humans originate from genetically distinct subpopulations associated with the long-tailed (Macaca fascicularis (Mf)) or pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina (Mn)). We used a new high-quality reference genome to re-evaluate previously described subpopulations among human and macaque isolates from Malaysian-Borneo and Peninsular-Malaysia. Nuclear genomes were dimorphic, as expected, but new evidence of chromosomal-segment exchanges between subpopulations was found. A large segment on chromosome 8 originating from the Mn subpopulation and containing genes encoding proteins expressed in mosquito-borne parasite stages, was found in Mf genotypes. By contrast, non-recombining organelle genomes partitioned into 3 deeply branched lineages, unlinked with nuclear genomic dimorphism. Subpopulations which diverged in isolation have re-connected, possibly due to deforestation and disruption of wild macaque habitats. The resulting genomic mosaics reveal traits selected by host-vector-parasite interactions in a setting of ecological transition.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) is a key genetic factor conferring risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but precise independent localization of HLA effects is extremely challenging. As a result, the contribution of specific HLA alleles and amino-acid residues to the overall risk of SLE and to risk of specific autoantibodies are far from completely understood. Here, we dissected (a) overall SLE association signals across HLA, (b) HLA-peptide interaction, and (c) residue-autoantibody association. Classical alleles, SNPs, and amino-acid residues of eight HLA genes were imputed across 4,915 SLE cases and 13,513 controls from Eastern Asia. We performed association followed by conditional analysis across HLA, assessing both overall SLE risk and risk of autoantibody production. DR15 alleles HLA-DRB1*15:01 (P = 1.4x10-27, odds ratio (OR) = 1.57) and HLA-DQB1*06:02 (P = 7.4x10-23, OR = 1.55) formed the most significant haplotype (OR = 2.33). Conditioned protein-residue signals were stronger than allele signals and mapped predominantly to HLA-DRB1 residue 13 (P = 2.2x10-75) and its proxy position 11 (P = 1.1x10-67), followed by HLA-DRB1-37 (P = 4.5x10-24). After conditioning on HLA-DRB1, novel associations at HLA-A-70 (P = 1.4x10-8), HLA-DPB1-35 (P = 9.0x10-16), HLA-DQB1-37 (P = 2.7x10-14), and HLA-B-9 (P = 6.5x10-15) emerged. Together, these seven residues increased the proportion of explained heritability due to HLA to 2.6%. Risk residues for both overall disease and hallmark autoantibodies (i.e., nRNP: DRB1-11, P = 2.0x10-14; DRB1-13, P = 2.9x10-13; DRB1-30, P = 3.9x10-14) localized to the peptide-binding groove of HLA-DRB1. Enrichment for specific amino-acid characteristics in the peptide-binding groove correlated with overall SLE risk and with autoantibody presence. Risk residues were in primarily negatively charged side-chains, in contrast with rheumatoid arthritis. We identified novel SLE signals in HLA Class I loci (HLA-A, HLA-B), and localized primary Class II signals to five residues in HLA-DRB1, HLA-DPB1, and HLA-DQB1. These findings provide insights about the mechanisms by which the risk residues interact with each other to produce autoantibodies and are involved in SLE pathophysiology.
North America is currently home to a number of grey wolf (Canis lupus) and wolf-like canid populations, including the coyote (Canis latrans) and the taxonomically controversial red, Eastern timber and Great Lakes wolves. We explored their population structure and regional gene flow using a dataset of 40 full genome sequences that represent the extant diversity of North American wolves and wolf-like canid populations. This included 15 new genomes (13 North American grey wolves, 1 red wolf and 1 Eastern timber/Great Lakes wolf), ranging from 0.4 to 15x coverage. In addition to providing full genome support for the previously proposed coyote-wolf admixture origin for the taxonomically controversial red, Eastern timber and Great Lakes wolves, the discriminatory power offered by our dataset suggests all North American grey wolves, including the Mexican form, are monophyletic, and thus share a common ancestor to the exclusion of all other wolves. Furthermore, we identify three distinct populations in the high arctic, one being a previously unidentified "Polar wolf" population endemic to Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Genetic diversity analyses reveal particularly high inbreeding and low heterozygosity in these Polar wolves, consistent with long-term isolation from the other North American wolves.
Although Plasmodium vivax parasites are the predominant cause of malaria outside of sub-Saharan Africa, they not always prioritised by elimination programmes. P. vivax is resilient and poses challenges through its ability to re-emerge from dormancy in the human liver. With observed growing drug-resistance and the increasing reports of life-threatening infections, new tools to inform elimination efforts are needed. In order to halt transmission, we need to better understand the dynamics of transmission, the movement of parasites, and the reservoirs of infection in order to design targeted interventions. The use of molecular genetics and epidemiology for tracking and studying malaria parasite populations has been applied successfully in P. falciparum species and here we sought to develop a molecular genetic tool for P. vivax. By assembling the largest set of P. vivax whole genome sequences (n = 433) spanning 17 countries, and applying a machine learning approach, we created a 71 SNP barcode with high predictive ability to identify geographic origin (91.4%). Further, due to the inclusion of markers for within population variability, the barcode may also distinguish local transmission networks. By using P. vivax data from a low-transmission setting in Malaysia, we demonstrate the potential ability to infer outbreak events. By characterising the barcoding SNP genotypes in P. vivax DNA sourced from UK travellers (n = 132) to ten malaria endemic countries predominantly not used in the barcode construction, we correctly predicted the geographic region of infection origin. Overall, the 71 SNP barcode outperforms previously published genotyping methods and when rolled-out within new portable platforms, is likely to be an invaluable tool for informing targeted interventions towards elimination of this resilient human malaria.