In our earlier study , we saw that North European populations exhibited differing amounts of IBS similarity to East Asians so that Finns, especially Eastern Finns, were the most similar. Now we have observed the same phenomenon - though in a smaller degree - within Sweden, where Norrland showed the most of East Asian similarity and Götaland the least. This is consistent with earlier Y-chromosomal studies . In strong contrast, however, neither Norrland nor Eastern Finns showed any increase in similarity to the Vologda Russians, and a similar lack of affinity between Finns and Russians can also be seen in separate datasets , . Thus, if the current references are representative of Russians in this respect, the observed affinity to Eastern Asia would not be mediated by contacts with Russians but could reflect an ancient eastern influence predating the arrival of Slavic populations to Northeastern Europe in the end of the first millennium . It remains unclear whether the eastern affinity observed in Sweden would date back to the same era, or rather reflect the amount of later Finnish contacts to the area.
PLoS ONE 6(2): e16747. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016747
Swedish Population Substructure Revealed by Genome-Wide Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Data
Elina Salmela et al.
Elina Salmela et al.
The use of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data has recently proven useful in the study of human population structure. We have studied the internal genetic structure of the Swedish population using more than 350,000 SNPs from 1525 Swedes from all over the country genotyped on the Illumina HumanHap550 array. We have also compared them to 3212 worldwide reference samples, including Finns, northern Germans, British and Russians, based on the more than 29,000 SNPs that overlap between the Illumina and Affymetrix 250K Sty arrays. The Swedes - especially southern Swedes - were genetically close to the Germans and British, while their genetic distance to Finns was substantially longer. The overall structure within Sweden appeared clinal, and the substructure in the southern and middle parts was subtle. In contrast, the northern part of Sweden, Norrland, exhibited pronounced genetic differences both within the area and relative to the rest of the country. These distinctive genetic features of Norrland probably result mainly from isolation by distance and genetic drift caused by low population density. The internal structure within Sweden (FST = 0.0005 between provinces) was stronger than that in many Central European populations, although smaller than what has been observed for instance in Finland; importantly, it is of the magnitude that may hamper association studies with a moderate number of markers if cases and controls are not properly matched geographically. Overall, our results underline the potential of genome-wide data in analyzing substructure in populations that might otherwise appear relatively homogeneous, such as the Swedes.