Publications by authors named "Kathleen C Barnes"

168 Publications

Polygenic prediction of atopic dermatitis improves with atopic training and filaggrin factors.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Jun 7. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

Background: While numerous genetic loci associated with atopic dermatitis (AD) have been discovered, to date, work leveraging the combined burden of AD risk variants across the genome to predict disease risk has been limited.

Objectives: This study aims to determine whether polygenic risk scores (PRSs) relying on genetic determinants for AD provide useful predictions for disease occurrence and severity. It also explicitly tests the value of including genome-wide association studies of related allergic phenotypes and known FLG loss-of-function (LOF) variants.

Methods: AD PRSs were constructed for 1619 European American individuals from the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network using an AD training dataset and an atopic training dataset including AD, childhood onset asthma, and general allergy. Additionally, whole genome sequencing data were used to explore genetic scoring specific to FLG LOF mutations.

Results: Genetic scores derived from the AD-only genome-wide association studies were predictive of AD cases (PRS: odds ratio [OR], 1.70; 95% CI, 1.49-1.93). Accuracy was first improved when PRSs were built off the larger atopy genome-wide association studies (PRS: OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.89-2.47) and further improved when including FLG LOF mutations (PRS: OR, 3.23; 95% CI, 2.57-4.07). Importantly, while all 3 PRSs correlated with AD severity, the best prediction was from PRS, which distinguished individuals with severe AD from control subjects with OR of 3.86 (95% CI, 2.77-5.36).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates how PRSs for AD that include genetic determinants across atopic phenotypes and FLG LOF variants may be a promising tool for identifying individuals at high risk for developing disease and specifically severe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2021.05.034DOI Listing
June 2021

A System for Phenotype Harmonization in the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Genotype-phenotype association studies often combine phenotype data from multiple studies to increase power. Harmonization of the data usually requires substantial effort due to heterogeneity in phenotype definitions, study design, data collection procedures, and data set organization. Here we describe a centralized system for phenotype harmonization that includes input from phenotype domain and study experts, quality control, documentation, reproducible results, and data sharing mechanisms. This system was developed for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine program, which is generating genomic and other omics data for >80 studies with extensive phenotype data. To date, 63 phenotypes have been harmonized across thousands of participants from up to 17 studies per phenotype (participants recruited 1948-2012). We discuss challenges in this undertaking and how they were addressed. The harmonized phenotype data and associated documentation have been submitted to National Institutes of Health data repositories for controlled-access by the scientific community. We also provide materials to facilitate future harmonization efforts by the community, which include (1) the code used to generate the 63 harmonized phenotypes, enabling others to reproduce, modify or extend these harmonizations to additional studies; and (2) results of labeling thousands of phenotype variables with controlled vocabulary terms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab115DOI Listing
April 2021

Robust, flexible, and scalable tests for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium across diverse ancestries.

Genetics 2021 May;218(1)

Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

Traditional Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) tests (the χ2 test and the exact test) have long been used as a metric for evaluating genotype quality, as technical artifacts leading to incorrect genotype calls often can be identified as deviations from HWE. However, in data sets composed of individuals from diverse ancestries, HWE can be violated even without genotyping error, complicating the use of HWE testing to assess genotype data quality. In this manuscript, we present the Robust Unified Test for HWE (RUTH) to test for HWE while accounting for population structure and genotype uncertainty, and to evaluate the impact of population heterogeneity and genotype uncertainty on the standard HWE tests and alternative methods using simulated and real sequence data sets. Our results demonstrate that ignoring population structure or genotype uncertainty in HWE tests can inflate false-positive rates by many orders of magnitude. Our evaluations demonstrate different tradeoffs between false positives and statistical power across the methods, with RUTH consistently among the best across all evaluations. RUTH is implemented as a practical and scalable software tool to rapidly perform HWE tests across millions of markers and hundreds of thousands of individuals while supporting standard VCF/BCF formats. RUTH is publicly available at https://www.github.com/statgen/ruth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/genetics/iyab044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128395PMC
May 2021

Genome-wide association study of asthma, total IgE, and lung function in a cohort of Peruvian children.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md. Electronic address:

Background: Genetic ancestry plays a role in asthma health disparities.

Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the impact of ancestry on and identify genetic variants associated with asthma, total serum IgE level, and lung function.

Methods: A total of 436 Peruvian children (aged 9-19 years) with asthma and 291 without asthma were genotyped by using the Illumina Multi-Ethnic Global Array. Genome-wide proportions of indigenous ancestry populations from continental America (NAT) and European ancestry from the Iberian populations in Spain (IBS) were estimated by using ADMIXTURE. We assessed the relationship between ancestry and the phenotypes and performed a genome-wide association study.

Results: The mean ancestry proportions were 84.7% NAT (case patients, 84.2%; controls, 85.4%) and 15.3% IBS (15.8%; 14.6%). With adjustment for asthma, NAT was associated with higher total serum IgE levels (P < .001) and IBS was associated with lower total serum IgE levels (P < .001). NAT was associated with higher FEV percent predicted values (P < .001), whereas IBS was associated with lower FEV values in the controls but not in the case patients. The HLA-DR/DQ region on chromosome 6 (Chr6) was strongly associated with total serum IgE (rs3135348; P = 3.438 × 10) and was independent of an association with the haplotype HLA-DQA1∼HLA-DQB1:04.01∼04.02 (P = 1.55 × 10). For lung function, we identified a locus (rs4410198; P = 5.536 × 10) mapping to Chr19, near a cluster of zinc finger interacting genes that colocalizes to the long noncoding RNA CTD-2537I9.5. This novel locus was replicated in an independent sample of pediatric case patients with asthma with similar admixture from Brazil (P = .005).

Conclusion: This study confirms the role of HLA in atopy, and identifies a novel locus mapping to a long noncoding RNA for lung function that may be specific to children with NAT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2021.02.035DOI Listing
March 2021

Sequencing of 53,831 diverse genomes from the NHLBI TOPMed Program.

Nature 2021 02 10;590(7845):290-299. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

The Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme seeks to elucidate the genetic architecture and biology of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases. The initial phases of the programme focused on whole-genome sequencing of individuals with rich phenotypic data and diverse backgrounds. Here we describe the TOPMed goals and design as well as the available resources and early insights obtained from the sequence data. The resources include a variant browser, a genotype imputation server, and genomic and phenotypic data that are available through dbGaP (Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes). In the first 53,831 TOPMed samples, we detected more than 400 million single-nucleotide and insertion or deletion variants after alignment with the reference genome. Additional previously undescribed variants were detected through assembly of unmapped reads and customized analysis in highly variable loci. Among the more than 400 million detected variants, 97% have frequencies of less than 1% and 46% are singletons that are present in only one individual (53% among unrelated individuals). These rare variants provide insights into mutational processes and recent human evolutionary history. The extensive catalogue of genetic variation in TOPMed studies provides unique opportunities for exploring the contributions of rare and noncoding sequence variants to phenotypic variation. Furthermore, combining TOPMed haplotypes with modern imputation methods improves the power and reach of genome-wide association studies to include variants down to a frequency of approximately 0.01%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03205-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875770PMC
February 2021

Whole genome sequencing identifies novel genetic mutations in patients with eczema herpeticum.

Allergy 2021 Aug 15;76(8):2510-2523. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Eczema herpeticum (EH) is a rare complication of atopic dermatitis (AD) caused by disseminated herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. The role of rare and/or deleterious genetic variants in disease etiology is largely unknown. This study aimed to identify genes that harbor damaging genetic variants associated with HSV infection in AD with a history of recurrent eczema herpeticum (ADEH+).

Methods: Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on 49 recurrent ADEH+ (≥3 EH episodes), 491 AD without a history of eczema herpeticum (ADEH-) and 237 non-atopic control (NA) subjects. Variants were annotated, and a gene-based approach (SKAT-O) was used to identify genes harboring damaging genetic variants associated with ADEH+. Genes identified through WGS were studied for effects on HSV responses and keratinocyte differentiation.

Results: Eight genes were identified in the comparison of recurrent ADEH+to ADEH-and NA subjects: SIDT2, CLEC7A, GSTZ1, TPSG1, SP110, RBBP8NL, TRIM15, and FRMD3. Silencing SIDT2 and RBBP8NL in normal human primary keratinocytes (NHPKs) led to significantly increased HSV-1 replication. SIDT2-silenced NHPKs had decreased gene expression of IFNk and IL1b in response to HSV-1 infection. RBBP8NL-silenced NHPKs had decreased gene expression of IFNk, but increased IL1b. Additionally, silencing SIDT2 and RBBP8NL also inhibited gene expression of keratinocyte differentiation markers keratin 10 (KRT10) and loricrin (LOR).

Conclusion: SIDT2 and RBBP8NL participate in keratinocyte's response to HSV-1 infection. SIDT2 and RBBP8NL also regulate expression of keratinocyte differentiation genes of KRT10 and LOR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.14762DOI Listing
August 2021

Loss-of-function genomic variants highlight potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease.

Nat Commun 2020 12 18;11(1):6417. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA, Torrance, CA, USA.

Pharmaceutical drugs targeting dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) may increase the risk of fatty liver disease and other metabolic disorders. To identify potential novel CVD drug targets without these adverse effects, we perform genome-wide analyses of participants in the HUNT Study in Norway (n = 69,479) to search for protein-altering variants with beneficial impact on quantitative blood traits related to cardiovascular disease, but without detrimental impact on liver function. We identify 76 (11 previously unreported) presumed causal protein-altering variants associated with one or more CVD- or liver-related blood traits. Nine of the variants are predicted to result in loss-of-function of the protein. This includes ZNF529:p.K405X, which is associated with decreased low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P = 1.3 × 10) without being associated with liver enzymes or non-fasting blood glucose. Silencing of ZNF529 in human hepatoma cells results in upregulation of LDL receptor and increased LDL uptake in the cells. This suggests that inhibition of ZNF529 or its gene product should be prioritized as a novel candidate drug target for treating dyslipidemia and associated CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20086-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749177PMC
December 2020

Inherited causes of clonal haematopoiesis in 97,691 whole genomes.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):763-768. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Age is the dominant risk factor for most chronic human diseases, but the mechanisms through which ageing confers this risk are largely unknown. The age-related acquisition of somatic mutations that lead to clonal expansion in regenerating haematopoietic stem cell populations has recently been associated with both haematological cancer and coronary heart disease-this phenomenon is termed clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). Simultaneous analyses of germline and somatic whole-genome sequences provide the opportunity to identify root causes of CHIP. Here we analyse high-coverage whole-genome sequences from 97,691 participants of diverse ancestries in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme, and identify 4,229 individuals with CHIP. We identify associations with blood cell, lipid and inflammatory traits that are specific to different CHIP driver genes. Association of a genome-wide set of germline genetic variants enabled the identification of three genetic loci associated with CHIP status, including one locus at TET2 that was specific to individuals of African ancestry. In silico-informed in vitro evaluation of the TET2 germline locus enabled the identification of a causal variant that disrupts a TET2 distal enhancer, resulting in increased self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells. Overall, we observe that germline genetic variation shapes haematopoietic stem cell function, leading to CHIP through mechanisms that are specific to clonal haematopoiesis as well as shared mechanisms that lead to somatic mutations across tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2819-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944936PMC
October 2020

Whole genome sequence analysis of pulmonary function and COPD in 19,996 multi-ethnic participants.

Nat Commun 2020 10 14;11(1):5182. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, The Department of Pediatrics, The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA, 90502, USA.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diagnosed by reduced lung function, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. We performed whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis of lung function and COPD in a multi-ethnic sample of 11,497 participants from population- and family-based studies, and 8499 individuals from COPD-enriched studies in the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program. We identify at genome-wide significance 10 known GWAS loci and 22 distinct, previously unreported loci, including two common variant signals from stratified analysis of African Americans. Four novel common variants within the regions of PIAS1, RGN (two variants) and FTO show evidence of replication in the UK Biobank (European ancestry n ~ 320,000), while colocalization analyses leveraging multi-omic data from GTEx and TOPMed identify potential molecular mechanisms underlying four of the 22 novel loci. Our study demonstrates the value of performing WGS analyses and multi-omic follow-up in cohorts of diverse ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18334-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598941PMC
October 2020

Research participant understanding and engagement in an institutional, self-consent biobank model.

J Genet Couns 2021 Feb 20;30(1):257-267. Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Department of Medicine, Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

The number of institutional and governmental biobanks and the target enrollment sizes of modern biobanks are increasing, affording more opportunities for the public to participate in biobanking efforts. In parallel with these expansions are pressures to increase the efficiency of obtaining informed consent using shorter consent forms that cover a broader scope of research and increasingly include provisions for return of research or clinical genetic test results to participants. Given these changes, how well these participants understand genetics, their level of understanding of what they are consenting to, and their wishes to engage longitudinally and receive biobank results are not well understood. We surveyed participants in a large, medical system-based biobank who had enrolled through a two-page, self-consent process about their baseline knowledge of genetics, understanding and recall of the consent process, wishes for future contact and engagement, and level of interest in receiving clinical genetic testing results. A total of 856 consented persons participated in the survey (67% women; 67% white). Participants' general reported genetics knowledge was relatively high (mean 11.60 of 15 questions answered correctly) as was recall of key elements from the two-page consent form. Overall participant enthusiasm for future contact by the biobank and for receiving clinical genetic testing results was high. The use of a two-page, self-consent process in a large, institutional biobank resulted in high levels of consent recall and enthusiasm for future ongoing engagement and receipt of genetic testing results by participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgc4.1316DOI Listing
February 2021

Native American gene flow into Polynesia predating Easter Island settlement.

Nature 2020 07 8;583(7817):572-577. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics (CEHG), Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

The possibility of voyaging contact between prehistoric Polynesian and Native American populations has long intrigued researchers. Proponents have pointed to the existence of New World crops, such as the sweet potato and bottle gourd, in the Polynesian archaeological record, but nowhere else outside the pre-Columbian Americas, while critics have argued that these botanical dispersals need not have been human mediated. The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl controversially suggested that prehistoric South American populations had an important role in the settlement of east Polynesia and particularly of Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Several limited molecular genetic studies have reached opposing conclusions, and the possibility continues to be as hotly contested today as it was when first suggested. Here we analyse genome-wide variation in individuals from islands across Polynesia for signs of Native American admixture, analysing 807 individuals from 17 island populations and 15 Pacific coast Native American groups. We find conclusive evidence for prehistoric contact of Polynesian individuals with Native American individuals (around AD 1200) contemporaneous with the settlement of remote Oceania. Our analyses suggest strongly that a single contact event occurred in eastern Polynesia, before the settlement of Rapa Nui, between Polynesian individuals and a Native American group most closely related to the indigenous inhabitants of present-day Colombia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2487-2DOI Listing
July 2020

A pseudolikelihood approach for assessing genetic association in case-control studies with unmeasured population structure.

Stat Methods Med Res 2020 11 12;29(11):3153-3165. Epub 2020 May 12.

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

The case-control study design is one of the main tools for detecting associations between genetic markers and diseases. It is well known that population substructure can lead to spurious association between disease status and a genetic marker if the prevalence of disease and the marker allele frequency vary across subpopulations. In this paper, we propose a novel statistical method to estimate the association in case-control studies with unmeasured population substructure. The proposed method takes two steps. First, the information on genomic markers and disease status is used to infer the population substructure; second, the association between the disease and the test marker adjusting for the population substructure is modeled and estimated parametrically through polytomous logistic regression. The performance of the proposed method, relative to the existing methods, on bias, coverage probability and computational time, is assessed through simulations. The method is applied to an end-stage renal disease study in African Americans population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0962280220921212DOI Listing
November 2020

Clinical implementation of pharmacogenomics via a health system-wide research biobank: the University of Colorado experience.

Pharmacogenomics 2020 04 20;21(6):375-386. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

In recent years, the genomics community has witnessed the growth of large research biobanks, which collect DNA samples for research purposes. Depending on how and where the samples are genotyped, biobanks also offer the potential opportunity to return actionable genomic results to the clinical setting. We developed a preemptive clinical pharmacogenomic implementation initiative via a health system-wide research biobank at the University of Colorado. Here, we describe how preemptive return of clinical pharmacogenomic results via a research biobank is feasible, particularly when coupled with strong institutional support to maximize the impact and efficiency of biobank resources, a multidisciplinary implementation team, automated clinical decision support tools, and proactive strategies to engage stakeholders early in the clinical decision support tool development process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/pgs-2020-0007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226704PMC
April 2020

Association of HLA-DRB1∗09:01 with tIgE levels among African-ancestry individuals with asthma.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 07 22;146(1):147-155. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colo.

Background: Asthma is a complex chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Association studies between HLA and asthma were first reported in the 1970s, and yet, the precise role of HLA alleles in asthma is not fully understood. Numerous genome-wide association studies were recently conducted on asthma, but were always limited to simple genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and not complex HLA gene polymorphisms (alleles/haplotypes), therefore not capturing the biological relevance of this complex locus for asthma pathogenesis.

Objective: To run the first HLA-centric association study with asthma and specific asthma-related phenotypes in a large cohort of African-ancestry individuals.

Methods: We collected high-density genomics data for the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (N = 4993) participants. Using computer-intensive machine-learning attribute bagging methods to infer HLA alleles, and Easy-HLA to infer HLA 5-gene haplotypes, we conducted a high-throughput HLA-centric association study of asthma susceptibility and total serum IgE (tIgE) levels in subjects with and without asthma.

Results: Among the 1607 individuals with asthma, 972 had available tIgE levels, with a mean tIgE level of 198.7 IU/mL. We could not identify any association with asthma susceptibility. However, we showed that HLA-DRB1∗09:01 was associated with increased tIgE levels (P = 8.5 × 10; weighted effect size, 0.51 [0.15-0.87]).

Conclusions: We identified for the first time an HLA allele associated with tIgE levels in African-ancestry individuals with asthma. Our report emphasizes that by leveraging powerful computational machine-learning methods, specific/extreme phenotypes, and population diversity, we can explore HLA gene polymorphisms in depth and reveal the full extent of complex disease associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.01.011DOI Listing
July 2020

Use of >100,000 NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Consortium whole genome sequences improves imputation quality and detection of rare variant associations in admixed African and Hispanic/Latino populations.

PLoS Genet 2019 12 23;15(12):e1008500. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Genomics Platform, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Most genome-wide association and fine-mapping studies to date have been conducted in individuals of European descent, and genetic studies of populations of Hispanic/Latino and African ancestry are limited. In addition, these populations have more complex linkage disequilibrium structure. In order to better define the genetic architecture of these understudied populations, we leveraged >100,000 phased sequences available from deep-coverage whole genome sequencing through the multi-ethnic NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program to impute genotypes into admixed African and Hispanic/Latino samples with genome-wide genotyping array data. We demonstrated that using TOPMed sequencing data as the imputation reference panel improves genotype imputation quality in these populations, which subsequently enhanced gene-mapping power for complex traits. For rare variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) < 0.5%, we observed a 2.3- to 6.1-fold increase in the number of well-imputed variants, with 11-34% improvement in average imputation quality, compared to the state-of-the-art 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 and Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels. Impressively, even for extremely rare variants with minor allele count <10 (including singletons) in the imputation target samples, average information content rescued was >86%. Subsequent association analyses of TOPMed reference panel-imputed genotype data with hematological traits (hemoglobin (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), and white blood cell count (WBC)) in ~21,600 African-ancestry and ~21,700 Hispanic/Latino individuals identified associations with two rare variants in the HBB gene (rs33930165 with higher WBC [p = 8.8x10-15] in African populations, rs11549407 with lower HGB [p = 1.5x10-12] and HCT [p = 8.8x10-10] in Hispanics/Latinos). By comparison, neither variant would have been genome-wide significant if either 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 or Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels had been used for imputation. Our findings highlight the utility of the TOPMed imputation reference panel for identification of novel rare variant associations not previously detected in similarly sized genome-wide studies of under-represented African and Hispanic/Latino populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6953885PMC
December 2019

Easy-HLA: a validated web application suite to reveal the full details of HLA typing.

Bioinformatics 2020 04;36(7):2157-2164

Nantes Université, Centrale Nantes, CHU Nantes, Inserm, Centre de Recherche en Transplantation et Immunologie, UMR 1064, ITUN, Nantes F-44000, France.

Motivation: The HLA system plays a pivotal role in both clinical applications and immunology research. Typing HLA genes in patient and donor is indeed required in hematopoietic stem cell and solid-organ transplantation, and the histocompatibility complex region exhibits countless genetic associations with immune-related pathologies. Since the discovery of HLA antigens, the HLA system nomenclature and typing methods have constantly evolved, which leads to difficulties in using data generated with older methodologies.

Results: Here, we present Easy-HLA, a web-based software suite designed to facilitate analysis and gain knowledge from HLA typing, regardless of nomenclature or typing method. Easy-HLA implements a computational and statistical method of HLA haplotypes inference based on published reference populations containing over 600 000 haplotypes to upgrade missing or partial HLA information: 'HLA-Upgrade' tool infers high-resolution HLA typing and 'HLA-2-Haplo' imputes haplotype pairs and provides additional functional annotations (e.g. amino acids and KIR ligands). We validated both tools using two independent cohorts (total n = 2500). For HLA-Upgrade, we reached a prediction accuracy of 92% from low- to high-resolution of European genotypes. We observed a 96% call rate and 76% accuracy with HLA-2-Haplo European haplotype pairs prediction. In conclusion, Easy-HLA tools facilitate large-scale immunogenetic analysis and promotes the multi-faceted HLA expertise beyond allelic associations by providing new functional immunogenomics parameters.

Availability And Implementation: Easy-HLA is a web application freely available (free account) at: https://hla.univ-nantes.fr.

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248894PMC
April 2020

Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies CRISPLD2 as a Lung Function Gene in Children With Asthma.

Chest 2019 12 23;156(6):1068-1079. Epub 2019 Sep 23.

Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Background: Asthma is a common respiratory disorder with a highly heterogeneous nature that remains poorly understood. The objective was to use whole genome sequencing (WGS) data to identify regions of common genetic variation contributing to lung function in individuals with a diagnosis of asthma.

Methods: WGS data were generated for 1,053 individuals from trios and extended pedigrees participating in the family-based Genetic Epidemiology of Asthma in Costa Rica study. Asthma affection status was defined through a physician's diagnosis of asthma, and most participants with asthma also had airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine. Family-based association tests for single variants were performed to assess the associations with lung function phenotypes.

Results: A genome-wide significant association was identified between baseline FEV/FVC ratio and a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the top hit cysteine-rich secretory protein LCCL domain-containing 2 (CRISPLD2) (rs12051168; P = 3.6 × 10 in the unadjusted model) that retained suggestive significance in the covariate-adjusted model (P = 5.6 × 10). Rs12051168 was also nominally associated with other related phenotypes: baseline FEV (P = 3.3 × 10), postbronchodilator (PB) FEV (7.3 × 10), and PB FEV/FVC ratio (P = 2.7 × 10). The identified baseline FEV/FVC ratio and rs12051168 association was meta-analyzed and replicated in three independent cohorts in which most participants with asthma also had confirmed AHR (combined weighted z-score P = .015) but not in cohorts without information about AHR.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that using specific asthma characteristics, such as AHR, can help identify more genetically homogeneous asthma subgroups with genotype-phenotype associations that may not be observed in all children with asthma. CRISPLD2 also may be important for baseline lung function in individuals with asthma who also may have AHR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2019.08.2202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6904857PMC
December 2019

The pharmacogenomics of inhaled corticosteroids and lung function decline in COPD.

Eur Respir J 2019 12 4;54(6). Epub 2019 Dec 4.

The University of British Columbia Center for Heart Lung Innovation, St Paul's Hospital Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are widely prescribed for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), yet have variable outcomes and adverse reactions, which may be genetically determined. The primary aim of the study was to identify the genetic determinants for forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV) changes related to ICS therapy.In the Lung Health Study (LHS)-2, 1116 COPD patients were randomised to the ICS triamcinolone acetonide (n=559) or placebo (n=557) with spirometry performed every 6 months for 3 years. We performed a pharmacogenomic genome-wide association study for the genotype-by-ICS treatment effect on 3 years of FEV changes (estimated as slope) in 802 genotyped LHS-2 participants. Replication was performed in 199 COPD patients randomised to the ICS, fluticasone or placebo.A total of five loci showed genotype-by-ICS interaction at p<5×10; of these, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs111720447 on chromosome 7 was replicated (discovery p=4.8×10, replication p=5.9×10) with the same direction of interaction effect. ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) data revealed that in glucocorticoid-treated (dexamethasone) A549 alveolar cell line, glucocorticoid receptor binding sites were located near SNP rs111720447. In stratified analyses of LHS-2, genotype at SNP rs111720447 was significantly associated with rate of FEV decline in patients taking ICS (C allele β 56.36 mL·year, 95% CI 29.96-82.76 mL·year) and in patients who were assigned to placebo, although the relationship was weaker and in the opposite direction to that in the ICS group (C allele β -27.57 mL·year, 95% CI -53.27- -1.87 mL·year).The study uncovered genetic factors associated with FEV changes related to ICS in COPD patients, which may provide new insight on the potential biology of steroid responsiveness in COPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/13993003.00521-2019DOI Listing
December 2019

Replicated methylation changes associated with eczema herpeticum and allergic response.

Clin Epigenetics 2019 08 23;11(1):122. Epub 2019 Aug 23.

University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA.

Background: Although epigenetic mechanisms are important risk factors for allergic disease, few studies have evaluated DNA methylation differences associated with atopic dermatitis (AD), and none has focused on AD with eczema herpeticum (ADEH+). We will determine how methylation varies in AD individuals with/without EH and associated traits. We modeled differences in genome-wide DNA methylation in whole blood cells from 90 ADEH+, 83 ADEH-, and 84 non-atopic, healthy control subjects, replicating in 36 ADEH+, 53 ADEH-, and 55 non-atopic healthy control subjects. We adjusted for cell-type composition in our models and used genome-wide and candidate-gene approaches.

Results: We replicated one CpG which was significantly differentially methylated by severity, with suggestive replication at four others showing differential methylation by phenotype or severity. Not adjusting for eosinophil content, we identified 490 significantly differentially methylated CpGs (ADEH+ vs healthy controls, genome-wide). Many of these associated with severity measures, especially eosinophil count (431/490 sites).

Conclusions: We identified a CpG in IL4 associated with serum tIgE levels, supporting a role for Th2 immune mediating mechanisms in AD. Changes in eosinophil level, a measure of disease severity, are associated with methylation changes, providing a potential mechanism for phenotypic changes in immune response-related traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-019-0714-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6706929PMC
August 2019

Genetic analyses of diverse populations improves discovery for complex traits.

Nature 2019 06 19;570(7762):514-518. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have laid the foundation for investigations into the biology of complex traits, drug development and clinical guidelines. However, the majority of discovery efforts are based on data from populations of European ancestry. In light of the differential genetic architecture that is known to exist between populations, bias in representation can exacerbate existing disease and healthcare disparities. Critical variants may be missed if they have a low frequency or are completely absent in European populations, especially as the field shifts its attention towards rare variants, which are more likely to be population-specific. Additionally, effect sizes and their derived risk prediction scores derived in one population may not accurately extrapolate to other populations. Here we demonstrate the value of diverse, multi-ethnic participants in large-scale genomic studies. The Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study conducted a GWAS of 26 clinical and behavioural phenotypes in 49,839 non-European individuals. Using strategies tailored for analysis of multi-ethnic and admixed populations, we describe a framework for analysing diverse populations, identify 27 novel loci and 38 secondary signals at known loci, as well as replicate 1,444 GWAS catalogue associations across these traits. Our data show evidence of effect-size heterogeneity across ancestries for published GWAS associations, substantial benefits for fine-mapping using diverse cohorts and insights into clinical implications. In the United States-where minority populations have a disproportionately higher burden of chronic conditions-the lack of representation of diverse populations in genetic research will result in inequitable access to precision medicine for those with the highest burden of disease. We strongly advocate for continued, large genome-wide efforts in diverse populations to maximize genetic discovery and reduce health disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1310-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785182PMC
June 2019

The soluble worm antigens-specific antibodies used as biomarkers of Schistosoma japonicum in a low prevalence and intensity endemic area of Hubei, China.

Acta Trop 2019 Jul 13;195:28-34. Epub 2019 Apr 13.

Division of Gastroenterology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, HUST, Wuhan, China. Electronic address:

The precise diagnosis of Schistosoma japonicum (S. japonicum) infection plays a critical role in achieving the ultimate goal of eliminating schistosomiasis in endemic regions. We evaluated the S. japonicum soluble worm antigen protein (SWAP) specific-IgG, IgG and IgE levels, and evaluated the association between S. japonicum infection and these antibodies in a sample of 837 residents from a S. japonicum-endemic area in Hubei province, China. The anticipants were divided into the Training Set (TS) and Validation Set (VS) based on the chronological order. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were performed to detect the SWAP-specific antibodies. Three algorithms for identifying S. japonicum infection were generated in the TS and subsequently validated in the VS. The findings were further replicated in an independent cohort from an endemic area for Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) in Brazil. Our results indicated for the first time that S. japonicum-infected individuals had higher levels of SWAP-specific IgG, IgG and IgE, and lower value of the IgE/IgG ratio than uninfected individuals in both the two sets (p <  0.01). Both the infected and uninfected individuals had a high prevalence of seropositivity for IgG. We further showed that the predictive model EGR (IgE/IgG ratio) score performed best in Chinese population (area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) 0.905, sensitivity 82.7%, specificity 84.0% in the TS; AUROC 0.933, sensitivity 87.7%, specificity 89.1% in the VS). Nevertheless, the predictive model IgG score performed best in Brazilian cohort (AUROC 0.788, sensitivity 73.2%, specificity 73.3%). In summary, SWAP-specific IgG could be used as a biomarker for identifying individuals who have been previously exposed to S. japonicum, and furthermore the SWAP-specific IgE/IgG could be used as an immune biomarker for S. japonicum infection in particular in the endemic areas with low prevalence and intensity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.04.011DOI Listing
July 2019

Association study in African-admixed populations across the Americas recapitulates asthma risk loci in non-African populations.

Nat Commun 2019 02 20;10(1):880. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA.

Asthma is a complex disease with striking disparities across racial and ethnic groups. Despite its relatively high burden, representation of individuals of African ancestry in asthma genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has been inadequate, and true associations in these underrepresented minority groups have been inconclusive. We report the results of a genome-wide meta-analysis from the Consortium on Asthma among African Ancestry Populations (CAAPA; 7009 asthma cases, 7645 controls). We find strong evidence for association at four previously reported asthma loci whose discovery was driven largely by non-African populations, including the chromosome 17q12-q21 locus and the chr12q13 region, a novel (and not previously replicated) asthma locus recently identified by the Trans-National Asthma Genetic Consortium (TAGC). An additional seven loci reported by TAGC show marginal evidence for association in CAAPA. We also identify two novel loci (8p23 and 8q24) that may be specific to asthma risk in African ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08469-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382865PMC
February 2019

African American ancestry contribution to asthma and atopic dermatitis.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2019 05 15;122(5):456-462. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado. Electronic address:

Objective: Asthma and atopic dermatitis (AD) are complex diseases with striking disparities across racial and ethnic groups, which may be partly attributable to genetic factors. Here we summarize current knowledge from asthma and AD genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and pharmacogenetic studies in African ancestry populations.

Data Sources: GWAS catalog; PUBMed.

Study Selections: GWAS catalog studies with trait annotations "asthma" and "atopic eczema" and African ancestry individuals in the discovery dataset; the recent CAAPA asthma GWAS; reports on pharmacogenetic studies in asthma and AD.

Results: Although GWASs have revolutionized gene discovery for multiple complex traits, African Americans continue to be severely underrepresented in sufficiently powered genetics studies. Indeed, of the 16 asthma and 21 AD loci that reached genomewide significance in Europeans, very few have replicated in African ancestry populations. Challenges in comparing results from European vs African ancestry cohorts include modest sample size, differences in risk allele frequency, effect size, correlation between genetic variants, and environmental exposure in evolutionary history. African Americans also constitute a small percentage of dermatological and respiratory-focused clinical trials. Pharmacogenetic studies have similarly been focused largely on non-Hispanic whites, despite compelling evidence that genetic variation from different ancestral backgrounds may alter therapeutic efficacy of asthma and AD drugs.

Conclusion: Large-scale genetic studies of asthma and AD in African Americans are essential to reduce research and health disparities and empower scientific discoveries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anai.2019.02.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500742PMC
May 2019

Author Correction: Assembly of a pan-genome from deep sequencing of 910 humans of African descent.

Nat Genet 2019 02;51(2):364

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

In the version of this article initially published, the statement "there are no pan-genomes for any other animal or plant species" was incorrect. The statement has been corrected to "there are no reported pan-genomes for any other animal species, to our knowledge." We thank David Edwards for bringing this error to our attention. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0335-1DOI Listing
February 2019

Identification of novel allergic diathesis genes: Are we closer to novel therapeutic targets?

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2019 02 8;143(2):557-559. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2018.11.028DOI Listing
February 2019

Assembly of a pan-genome from deep sequencing of 910 humans of African descent.

Nat Genet 2019 01 19;51(1):30-35. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

We used a deeply sequenced dataset of 910 individuals, all of African descent, to construct a set of DNA sequences that is present in these individuals but missing from the reference human genome. We aligned 1.19 trillion reads from the 910 individuals to the reference genome (GRCh38), collected all reads that failed to align, and assembled these reads into contiguous sequences (contigs). We then compared all contigs to one another to identify a set of unique sequences representing regions of the African pan-genome missing from the reference genome. Our analysis revealed 296,485,284 bp in 125,715 distinct contigs present in the populations of African descent, demonstrating that the African pan-genome contains ~10% more DNA than the current human reference genome. Although the functional significance of nearly all of this sequence is unknown, 387 of the novel contigs fall within 315 distinct protein-coding genes, and the rest appear to be intergenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0273-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6309586PMC
January 2019
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