Greenlandic Inuit show genetic signatures of diet and climate adaptation.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Fumagalli, Matteo; Moltke, Ida; Grarup, Niels; Racimo, Fernando; Bjerregaard, Peter; Jørgensen, Marit E; Korneliussen, Thorfinn S; Gerbault, Pascale; Skotte, Line; Linneberg, Allan; Christensen, Cramer; Brandslund, Ivan; Jørgensen, Torben; Huerta-Sánchez, Emilia; Schmidt, Erik B; Pedersen, Oluf; Hansen, Torben; Albrechtsen, Anders; Nielsen, Rasmus
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Science
Volume: 349
Issue: 6254
Pagination: 1343-7
Date Published: 2015 Sep 18
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Acclimatization, Alleles, Arctic Regions, Body Height, Body Weight, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11, Climate, Diet, High-Fat, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Female, Genetic Loci, Genome, Human, Genome-Wide Association Study, Greenland, Humans, Inuits, Linkage Disequilibrium, Male, Membrane Lipids, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Selection, Genetic

The indigenous people of Greenland, the Inuit, have lived for a long time in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, including low annual temperatures, and with a specialized diet rich in protein and fatty acids, particularly omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). A scan of Inuit genomes for signatures of adaptation revealed signals at several loci, with the strongest signal located in a cluster of fatty acid desaturases that determine PUFA levels. The selected alleles are associated with multiple metabolic and anthropometric phenotypes and have large effect sizes for weight and height, with the effect on height replicated in Europeans. By analyzing membrane lipids, we found that the selected alleles modulate fatty acid composition, which may affect the regulation of growth hormones. Thus, the Inuit have genetic and physiological adaptations to a diet rich in PUFAs.

DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2319
Alternate Journal: Science