A population-specific reference panel empowers genetic studies of Anabaptist populations.


Hou L, Kember RL, Roach JC, O’Connell JR, Craig DW, Bucan M, Scott WK, Pericak-Vance M, Haines JL, Crawford MH, Shuldiner AR, McMahon FJ,.

Genotype imputation is a powerful strategy for achieving the large sample sizes required for identification of variants underlying complex phenotypes, but imputation of rare variants remains problematic. Genetically isolated populations offer one solution, however population-specific reference panels are needed to assure optimal imputation accuracy and allele frequency estimation. Here we report the Anabaptist Genome Reference Panel (AGRP), the first whole-genome catalogue of variants and phased haplotypes in people of Amish and Mennonite ancestry. Based on high-depth whole-genome sequence (WGS) from 265 individuals, the AGRP contains 12 M high-confidence single nucleotide variants and short indels, of which 12.5% are novel. These Anabaptist-specific variants were more deleterious than variants with comparable frequencies observed in the 1000 Genomes panel. About 43,000 variants showed enriched allele frequencies in AGRP, consistent with drift. When combined with the 1000 Genomes Project reference panel, the AGRP substantially improved imputation, especially for rarer variants. The AGRP is freely available to researchers through an imputation server.

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Will Bush

William S. Bush, Ph.D., is a human geneticist and bioinformatician, and Assistant Professor within the Cleveland Institute for Computational Biology and the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.