Implications of population structure and ancestry on asthma genetic studies

Victor E. Ortega, Deborah A. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The frequency and severity of asthma differ between different racial and ethnic groups. An understanding of the genetic basis for these differences could constitute future genetic biomarker panels for predicting asthma risk and progression in individuals from different ethnic groups. Recent themes: The recent mixing of different ancestries during the European colonization of the Americas and the African slave trade has resulted in the complex population structures identified in different ethnic groups. These population structures represent varying degrees of genetic diversity which impacts the allele frequency of individual variants and, thus, how the gene variation is utilized in genetic association studies. In this review, we will discuss the basis for the complex population structures of modern human genomes and the impact of genetic diversity on genetic studies in different ethnic groups. We will also highlight the potential for admixture and rare variant-based genetic studies to identify novel genetic loci for asthma susceptibility and severity. Summary: The ability to account for the consequences of genetic diversity in different racial and ethnic groups will be critical in developing genetic profiles for personalized or precision medicine approaches tailored to asthmatic patients from different ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-389
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent opinion in allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • admixture
  • ancestry
  • asthma
  • genetics
  • genome-wide association study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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