Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unexpected genomic change through 400 years of French-Canadian history

Date:
October 8, 2013
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that the genomic signature inherited by today’s 6 million French Canadians from the first 8,500 French settlers who colonized New France some 400 years ago has gone through an unparalleled change in human history, in a remarkably short timescale. This unique signature could serve as an ideal model to study the effect of demographic processes on human genetic diversity, including the identification of possibly damaging mutations associated with population-specific diseases.

Quebec City with Chateau Frontenac and woman
Credit: © Maridav / Fotolia

Researchers at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center and University of Montreal have discovered that the genomic signature inherited by today's 6 million French Canadians from the first 8,500 French settlers who colonized New France some 400 years ago has gone through an unparalleled change in human history, in a remarkably short timescale. This unique signature could serve as an ideal model to study the effect of demographic processes on human genetic diversity, including the identification of possibly damaging mutations associated with population-specific diseases.

Related Articles


Until now, changes in the relative proportion of rare mutations, that could be both detrimental and adaptive, had only been shown over relatively long timescales, by comparing African and European populations. According to Dr. Alan Hodgkinson, the co-first author of an article published online in PLOS Genetics recently and a postdoctoral fellow, "through this first in-depth genomic analysis of more than a hundred French Canadians, we have been surprised to find that in less than 20 generations, the distribution and relative proportion of rare, potentially damaging variants have changed more than we anticipated."

Such an increase in rare variation is presumably due to a high birth rate of the settlers and the genetic isolation from France, with limited exchange with other non-French communities in the same geographical area, since emigration virtually stopped after 1759, just before the English conquest. Indeed, the founding population is estimated to have contributed 90% of the current French Canadian genetic pool.

According to Dr. Philip Awadalla, senior author and principal investigator, "the fact that two very close populations (French versus French Canadians) accumulate such an excess of differences in rare variants has important consequences in the design of genetic studies, including the identification of possibly damaging mutations associated with diseases specific to this population." The model unveiled by the researchers could also serve conservation genetics, namely in determining the impact of genetic diversity on the minimal number of individuals required for the survival of specific species or captive populations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ferran Casals, Alan Hodgkinson, Julie Hussin, Youssef Idaghdour, Vanessa Bruat, Thibault de Maillard, Jean-Cristophe Grenier, Elias Gbeha, Fadi F. Hamdan, Simon Girard, Jean-François Spinella, Mathieu Larivière, Virginie Saillour, Jasmine Healy, Isabel Fernández, Daniel Sinnett, Jacques L. Michaud, Guy A. Rouleau, Elie Haddad, Françoise Le Deist, Philip Awadalla. Whole-Exome Sequencing Reveals a Rapid Change in the Frequency of Rare Functional Variants in a Founding Population of Humans. PLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (9): e1003815 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003815

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Unexpected genomic change through 400 years of French-Canadian history." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091234.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2013, October 8). Unexpected genomic change through 400 years of French-Canadian history. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091234.htm
Université de Montréal. "Unexpected genomic change through 400 years of French-Canadian history." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008091234.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins