News from IBE (CSIC-UPF)
In this paper IBE researchers studied the human genome diversity of Sudan and neighboring countries in East Africa: South Sudan and Ethiopia. The scientists, leaded by Jaume Bertranpetit, found a common origin for most Nilo-Saharan speaking groups that differentiates them from other Sudanese or sub-Saharan populations, with a new, specific genetic component not present in other African populations. The study, published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the Nature Publishing Group, analized saliva samples that were collected from 500 individuals belonging to nine east African populations based on self-reported ethnicity.
Moreover, Bertranpetit and colleagues also found low genetic distances between these populations in genes important for anti-malarial and anti-bacterial host defence, indicating similar selective pressures on these genes and stressing the importance of considering functional pathways to understand the evolutionary history of populations.
Dobon B, Hassan HY, Laayouni H, Luisi P, Ricaño-Ponce I, Zhernakova A, Wijmenga C, Tahir H, Comas D, Netea MG, and Bertranpetit J (2015). The genetics of East African populations: a Nilo-Saharan component in the African genetic landscape. Scientific Reports