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.

Related Articles


"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 December 18, 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 December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
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