Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: British Asian


We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a multistage meta-analysis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Punjabi Sikhs from India. Our discovery GWAS in 1,616 individuals (842 case subjects) was followed by in silico replication of the top 513 independent SNPs (P < 10(-3)) in Punjabi Sikhs (n = 2,819; 801 case subjects). We further replicated 66 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 10(-4)) through genotyping in a Punjabi Sikh sample (n = 2,894; 1,711 case subjects). On combined meta-analysis in Sikh populations (n = 7,329; 3,354 case subjects), we identified a novel locus in association with T2D at 13q12 represented by a directly genotyped intronic SNP (rs9552911, P = 1.82 × 10(-8)) in the SGCG gene. Next, we undertook in silico replication (stage 2b) of the top 513 signals (P < 10(-3)) in 29,157 non-Sikh South Asians (10,971 case subjects) and de novo genotyping of up to 31 top signals (P < 10(-4)) in 10,817 South Asians (5,157 case subjects) (stage 3b). In combined South Asian meta-analysis, we observed six suggestive associations (P < 10(-5) to < 10(-7)), including SNPs at HMG1L1/CTCFL, PLXNA4, SCAP, and chr5p11. Further evaluation of 31 top SNPs in 33,707 East Asians (16,746 case subjects) (stage 3c) and 47,117 Europeans (8,130 case subjects) (stage 3d), and joint meta-analysis of 128,127 individuals (44,358 case subjects) from 27 multiethnic studies, did not reveal any additional loci nor was there any evidence of replication for the new variant. Our findings provide new evidence on the presence of a population-specific signal in relation to T2D, which may provide additional insights into T2D pathogenesis.

Concepts: Diabetes mellitus type 2, SNP array, Single-nucleotide polymorphism, Genome-wide association study, Genotyping, South Asia, British Asian, Punjab region


Diabetes in pregnancy is common in South Asians, especially those from low-income backgrounds, and leads to short-term morbidity and longer-term metabolic programming in mother and offspring. We sought to understand the multiple influences on behaviour (hence risks to metabolic health) of South Asian mothers and their unborn child, theorising how these influences interact and build over time, and inform the design of culturally congruent, multi-level interventions.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Pregnancy, Africa, New Zealand, Asia, Mother, British Asian


PURPOSE: Polymorphic variation in the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and α-actinin-3 (ACTN3) genes has been reported to be associated with endurance and/or power-related human performance. Our aim was to investigate whether polymorphisms in ACE and ACTN3 are associated with elite swimmer status in Caucasian and East Asian populations. METHODS: ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X genotyping was carried out for 200 elite Caucasian swimmers from European, Commonwealth, Russian and American cohorts (short and middle distance, SMD ≤ 400 m, n = 130; long distance, LD > 400 m, n = 70) and 326 elite Japanese and Taiwanese swimmers (short distance, SD ≤ 100 m, n = 166; middle distance, MD: 200 - 400 m, n = 160). Genetic associations were evaluated by logistic regression and other tests accommodating multiple testing adjustment. RESULTS: ACE I/D was associated with swimmer status in Caucasians, with the D-allele being overrepresented in SMD swimmers under both additive and I-allele dominant models (permutation test p = 0.003 and p = 0.0005, respectively). ACE I/D was also associated with swimmer status in East Asians. In this group, however, the I-allele was overrepresented in the SD swimmer group (permutation test p = 0.041 and p = 0.0098 under the additive and the D-allele-dominant models, respectively). ACTN3 R577X was not significantly associated with swimmer status in either Caucasians or East Asians. CONCLUSIONS: ACE I/D associations were observed in these elite swimmer cohorts, with different risk alleles responsible for the associations in swimmers of different ethnicities. The functional ACTN3 R577X polymorphism did not show any significant association with elite swimmer status, despite numerous previous reports of associations with ‘power/sprint’ performance in other sports.

Concepts: Genetics, Asia, East Asia, Asian American, British Asian, Asian people, East Asians in the United Kingdom, British Chinese


To shed light on the peopling of South Asia and the origins of the morphological adaptations found there, we analyzed whole-genome sequences from 10 Andamanese individuals and compared them with sequences for 60 individuals from mainland Indian populations with different ethnic histories and with publicly available data from other populations. We show that all Asian and Pacific populations share a single origin and expansion out of Africa, contradicting an earlier proposal of two independent waves of migration. We also show that populations from South and Southeast Asia harbor a small proportion of ancestry from an unknown extinct hominin, and this ancestry is absent from Europeans and East Asians. The footprints of adaptive selection in the genomes of the Andamanese show that the characteristic distinctive phenotypes of this population (including very short stature) do not reflect an ancient African origin but instead result from strong natural selection on genes related to human body size.

Concepts: Genetics, Natural selection, Africa, Southeast Asia, Asia, East Asia, Adaptation, British Asian


British South Asians have a higher incidence of diabetes and poorer health outcomes compared to the general UK population. Beliefs about diabetes are known to play an important role in self-management, yet little is known about the sociocultural context in shaping beliefs. This study aimed to explore the influence of sociocultural context on illness beliefs and diabetes self-management in British South Asians.

Concepts: Health care, Epidemiology, United Kingdom, Learning, Play, British Asian


The aim of this review was to quantify the global variation in childhood myopia prevalence over time taking account of demographic and study design factors. A systematic review identified population-based surveys with estimates of childhood myopia prevalence published by February 2015. Multilevel binomial logistic regression of log odds of myopia was used to examine the association with age, gender, urban versus rural setting and survey year, among populations of different ethnic origins, adjusting for study design factors. 143 published articles (42 countries, 374 349 subjects aged 1-18 years, 74 847 myopia cases) were included. Increase in myopia prevalence with age varied by ethnicity. East Asians showed the highest prevalence, reaching 69% (95% credible intervals (CrI) 61% to 77%) at 15 years of age (86% among Singaporean-Chinese). Blacks in Africa had the lowest prevalence; 5.5% at 15 years (95% CrI 3% to 9%). Time trends in myopia prevalence over the last decade were small in whites, increased by 23% in East Asians, with a weaker increase among South Asians. Children from urban environments have 2.6 times the odds of myopia compared with those from rural environments. In whites and East Asians sex differences emerge at about 9 years of age; by late adolescence girls are twice as likely as boys to be myopic. Marked ethnic differences in age-specific prevalence of myopia exist. Rapid increases in myopia prevalence over time, particularly in East Asians, combined with a universally higher risk of myopia in urban settings, suggest that environmental factors play an important role in myopia development, which may offer scope for prevention.

Concepts: Logit, Logistic regression, Population, Race, Ethnic group, Myopia, Logistic function, British Asian


Prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular (CVD) disease amongst UK South Asians is higher than in the general population. Non-adherence to medicines may lead to poor clinical outcomes for South Asian patients with diabetes and CVD. To understand the decision making processes associated with taking medicines, a qualitative systematic meta-synthesis exploring medicine taking behaviours, and beliefs was undertaken.

Concepts: Medicine, Disease, Decision making, The Canon of Medicine, Cognition, New Zealand, Asia, British Asian


The more than 1.5 billion people who live in South Asia are correctly viewed not as a single large population but as many small endogamous groups. We assembled genome-wide data from over 2,800 individuals from over 260 distinct South Asian groups. We identified 81 unique groups, 14 of which had estimated census sizes of more than 1 million, that descend from founder events more extreme than those in Ashkenazi Jews and Finns, both of which have high rates of recessive disease due to founder events. We identified multiple examples of recessive diseases in South Asia that are the result of such founder events. This study highlights an underappreciated opportunity for decreasing disease burden among South Asians through discovery of and testing for recessive disease-associated genes.

Concepts: Demography, Million, Asia, South Asia, British Asian, Asian people, Names of large numbers, Ashkenazi Jews


Expert bodies and health organisations recommend that adults undertake at least 150 min.week(-1) of moderate-intensity physical activity (MPA). However, the underpinning data largely emanate from studies of populations of European descent. It is unclear whether this level of activity is appropriate for other ethnic groups, particularly South Asians, who have increased cardio-metabolic disease risk compared to Europeans. The aim of this study was to explore the level of MPA required in South Asians to confer a similar cardio-metabolic risk profile to that observed in Europeans undertaking the currently recommended MPA level of 150 min.week(-1).

Concepts: Epidemiology, New Zealand, Race, Ethnic group, Asia, South Asia, Ethnic groups, British Asian


The reasons for the increased risk of gestational diabetes among South Asian women are not well understood. We sought to identify the determinants of gestational diabetes and its impact on newborn health in a prospective birth cohort of South Asian women and their babies.

Concepts: Cohort study, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Longitudinal study, Fetus, New Zealand, Asia, British Asian