September 18, 2013
Genetic structure of Kuwaiti population
Genetic Substructure of Kuwaiti Population Reveals Migration History
Osama Alsmadi et al.
The State of Kuwait is characterized by settlers from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regions of the Arabian Peninsula. The settlements and subsequent admixtures have shaped the genetics of Kuwait. High prevalence of recessive disorders and metabolic syndromes (that increase risk of diabetes) is seen in the peninsula. Understanding the genetic structure of its population will aid studies designed to decipher the underlying causes of these disorders. In this study, we analyzed 572,366 SNP markers from 273 Kuwaiti natives genotyped using the illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip. Model-based clustering identified three genetic subgroups with different levels of admixture. A high level of concordance (Mantel test, p=0.0001 for 9999 repeats) was observed between the derived genetic clusters and the surname-based ancestries. Use of Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) data to understand admixtures in each group reveals the following: the first group (Kuwait P) is largely of West Asian ancestry, representing Persians with European admixture; the second group (Kuwait S) is predominantly of city-dwelling Saudi Arabian tribe ancestry, and the third group (Kuwait B) includes most of the tent-dwelling Bedouin surnames and is characterized by the presence of 17% African ancestry. Identity by Descent and Homozygosity analyses find Kuwait’s population to be heterogeneous (placed between populations that have large amount of ROH and the ones with low ROH) with Kuwait S as highly endogamous, and Kuwait B as diverse. Population differentiation FST estimates place Kuwait P near Asian populations, Kuwait S near Negev Bedouin tribes, and Kuwait B near the Mozabite population. FST distances between the groups are in the range of 0.005 to 0.008; distances of this magnitude are known to cause false positives in disease association studies. Results of analysis for genetic features such as linkage disequilibrium decay patterns conform to Kuwait’s geographical location at the nexus of Africa, Europe, and Asia.