Fine-scale population structure reveals high genetic heterogeneity of the Kuwaiti population in the Arabian Peninsula

Muthukrishnan Eaaswarkhanth, Ajai Pathak, Linda Ongaro, Francesco Montinaro, Prashantha Hebbar, Osama Alsmadi, Mait Metspalu, Fahd Al-Mulla, Alphonse Thangavel Thanaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent studies have showed the diverse genetic architecture of the highly consanguineous populations inhabiting the Arabian Peninsula. Consanguinity coupled with heterogeneity is complex and makes it difficult to understand the bases of population-specific genetic diseases in the region. Therefore, comprehensive genetic characterization of the populations at the finest scale is warranted. Here, we revisit the genetic structure of the Kuwait population by analyzing genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms data from 583 Kuwaiti individuals sorted into three subgroups. We envisage a diverse demographic genetic history among the three subgroups based on drift and allelic sharing with modern and ancient individuals. Furthermore, our comprehensive haplotype-based analyses disclose a high genetic heterogeneity among the Kuwaiti populations. We infer the major sources of ancestry within the newly defined groups; one with an obvious predominance of sub-Saharan/Western Africa mostly comprising Kuwait-B individuals, and other with West Eurasia including Kuwait-P and Kuwait-S individuals. Overall, our results recapitulate the historical population movements and reaffirm the genetic imprints of the legacy of continental trading in the region. Such deciphering of fine-scale population structure and their regional genetic heterogeneity would provide clues to the uncharted areas of disease-gene discovery and related associations in populations inhabiting the Arabian Peninsula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2020


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