Nicolas Duforet-Frebourg, Guillaume Laval, Eric Bazin, Michael G.B. Blum
(Submitted on 8 Apr 2015)
Large-scale genomic data offers the perspective to decipher the genetic architecture of natural selection. To characterize natural selection, various analytical methods for detecting candidate genomic regions have been developed. We propose to perform genome-wide scans of natural selection using principal component analysis. We show that the common Fst index of genetic differentiation between populations can be viewed as a proportion of variance explained by the principal components. Looking at the correlations between genetic variants and each principal component provides a conceptual framework to detect genetic variants involved in local adaptation without any prior definition of populations. To validate the PCA-based approach, we consider the 1000 Genomes data (phase 1) after removal of recently admixed individuals resulting in 850 individuals coming from Africa, Asia, and Europe. The number of genetic variants is of the order of 36 millions obtained with a low-coverage sequencing depth (3X). The correlations between genetic variation and each principal component provide well-known targets for positive selection (EDAR, SLC24A5, SLC45A2, DARC), and also new candidate genes (APPBPP2, TP1A1, RTTN, KCNMA, MYO5C) and non-coding RNAs. In addition to identifying genes involved in biological adaptation, we identify two biological pathways involved in polygenic adaptation that are related to the innate immune system (beta defensins) and to lipid metabolism (fatty acid omega oxidation). PCA-based statistics retrieve well-known signals of human adaptation, which is encouraging for future whole-genome sequencing project, especially in non-model species for which defining populations can be difficult. Genome scan based on PCA is implemented in the open-source and freely available PCAdapt software.