Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic study on South Asians helps to understand human skin color variation

Date:
November 7, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
In a recent study, researchers took skin color measurements from local residents in India to quantify the range and extent of variation in skin pigmentation phenotype and found that one of the important pigmentation genes, SLC24A5, plays a key role in skin pigmentation variation among South Asians. The comprehensive map of the genetic variant associated with light skin further revealed that it is quite wide spread in the subcontinent.

Though genetics of skin pigmentation has shown recent advancements in the last decade, studies involving populations of South Asia, one of the major hot spots of pigmentation diversity, is still in its infancy. In a recent study publishing in PloS Genetics; an international team of scientists, led by researchers from the University of Tartu and the University of Cambridge, took skin color measurements from local residents in India to quantify the range and extent of variation in skin pigmentation phenotype and found that one of the important pigmentation genes; SLC24A5, plays a key role in skin pigmentation variation among South Asians. The comprehensive map of the genetic variant associated with light skin further revealed that it is quite wide spread in the subcontinent.

"It was interesting to see that the effect of geographical, linguistic, socio-cultural boundaries further shaped by strict endogamy which forms the backbone of the South Asian genetic diversity was so strongly reflected in the complex patterning of this light skin allele" explains Chandana Basu Mallick, lead author from University of Tartu, Estonia. She further adds, "This study helps us to understand the other possible mechanisms that could have contributed in shaping the existing biological spectrum of human skin color besides natural selection driven by UV rays and in further understanding of this complex phenotypic trait."

Another element of the study involved resequencing of SLC24A5 using diverse set of samples which helped to unveil an important fact; that Indians share the same mutation of SLC24A5 for their light skin as Europeans and belong to the same haplotype background. Though evidence of positive selection in SLC24A5 has been well demonstrated in the previously reported genome-wide scans, the fact that South Asians have been underrepresented in the world-wide panels brought forward another question: whether there has been any evidence of positive selection for this gene in South Asians? To their surprise, they found that a differential pattern of selection revealed evidence of positive selection in North India, but not in South India.

"The variable presence of this light skin mutation across India suggests an intriguing interplay between the forces of natural selection and the unique demographic history and structure of the populations inhabiting the Indian subcontinent" says Mircea Iliescu, co-lead author from the University of Cambridge. This study also provides the first comprehensive estimate of the coalescence time of this allele, which is crucial in the understanding of the evolutionary history of light skin in humans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chandana Basu Mallick, Florin Mircea Iliescu, Märt Möls, Sarah Hill, Rakesh Tamang, Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Rie Goto, Simon Y. W. Ho, Irene Gallego Romero, Federica Crivellaro, Georgi Hudjashov, Niraj Rai, Mait Metspalu, C. G. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor, Ramasamy Pitchappan, Lalji Singh, Marta Mirazon-Lahr, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Richard Villems, Toomas Kivisild. The Light Skin Allele of SLC24A5 in South Asians and Europeans Shares Identity by Descent. PLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (11): e1003912 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003912

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Genetic study on South Asians helps to understand human skin color variation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204239.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, November 7). Genetic study on South Asians helps to understand human skin color variation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204239.htm
Public Library of Science. "Genetic study on South Asians helps to understand human skin color variation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107204239.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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