Differential positive selection of malaria resistance genes in three indigenous populations of Peninsular Malaysia

Xuanyao Liu, Yushimah Yunus, Dongsheng Lu, Farhang Aghakhanian Fereydani, Woei-Yuh Saw, Lian Deng, Mohammad Ali, Xu Wang, Fadzilah Mohd Nor Ghazali, Thuhairah Abdul-Rahman, Shahrul Azlin Shaari, Mohd Zaki Salleh, Maude Elvira Phipps, Rick Twee-Hee Ong, Shuhua Xu, Yik-Ying Teo, Boon-Peng Hoh

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The indigenous populations from Peninsular Malaysia, locally known as Orang Asli, continue to adopt an agro-subsistence nomadic lifestyle, residing primarily within natural jungle habitats. Leading a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in a tropical jungle environment, the Orang Asli are routinely exposed to malaria. Here we surveyed the genetic architecture of individuals from four Orang Asli tribes with high-density genotyping across more than 2.5 million polymorphisms. These tribes reside in different geographical locations in Peninsular Malaysia and belong to three main ethno-linguistic groups, where there is minimal interaction between the tribes. We first dissect the genetic diversity and admixture between the tribes and with neighboring urban populations. Later, by implementing five metrics, we investigated the genome-wide signatures for positive natural selection of these Orang Asli, respectively. Finally, we searched for evidence of genomic adaptation to the pressure of malaria infection. We observed that different evolutionary responses might have emerged in the different Orang Asli communities to mitigate malaria infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375 - 392
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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