Despite the extreme and varying environmental conditions prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula, it has experienced several waves of human migrations following the out-of-Africa diaspora. Eventually, the inhabitants of the peninsula region adapted to the hot and dry environment. The adaptation and natural selection that shaped the extant human populations of the Arabian Peninsula region have been scarcely studied. In an attempt to explore natural selection in the region, we analyzed 662,750 variants in 583 Kuwaiti individuals. We searched for regions in the genome that display signatures of positive selection in the Kuwaiti population using an integrative approach in a conservative manner. We highlight a haplotype overlapping TNKS that showed strong signals of positive selection based on the results of the multiple selection tests conducted (integrated Haplotype Score, Cross Population Extended Haplotype Homozygosity, Population Branch Statistics, and log-likelihood ratio scores). Notably, the TNKS haplotype under selection potentially conferred a fitness advantage to the Kuwaiti ancestors for surviving in the harsh environment while posing a major health risk to present-day Kuwaitis.
- Kuwait population
- metabolic traits
- positive selection
Eaaswarkhanth, M., Campelo dos Santos, A. L., Gokcumen, O., Al-Mulla, F., & Thanaraj, A. T. (2020). Genome-wide Selection Scan in an Arabian Peninsula Population Identifies a TNKS haplotype Linked to Metabolic Traits and Hypertension. Genome Biology and Evolution, 12(3), 77-87. https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evaa033