No association between genetic ancestry and susceptibility to asthma or atopy in Canary Islanders
Asthma is a complex respiratory disease characterized by chronic inflammation of airways and frequently associated with atopic symptoms. The population from the Canary Islands, which has resulted from a recent admixture of North African and Iberian populations, shows the highest prevalence of asthma and atopic symptoms among the Spanish populations. Although environmental particularities would account for the majority of such disparity, genetic ancestry might play a role in increasing the susceptibility of asthma or atopy, as have been demonstrated in other recently African-admixed populations. Here, we aimed to explore whether genetic ancestry was associated with asthma or related traits in the Canary Islanders. For that, a total of 734 DNA samples from unrelated individuals of the GOA study, self-reporting at least two generations of ancestors from the Canary Islands (391 asthmatics and 343 controls), were successfully genotyped for 83 ancestry informative markers (AIMs), which allowed to precisely distinguishing between North African and Iberian ancestries. No association was found between genetic ancestry and asthma or related traits after adjusting by demographic variables differing among compared groups. Similarly, none of the individual AIMs was associated with asthma when results were considered in the context of the multiple comparisons performed (0.005 ≤ p value ≤ 0.042; 0.221 ≤ q value ≤ 0.443). Our results suggest that if genetic ancestry were involved in the susceptibility to asthma or related traits among Canary Islanders, its effects would be modest. Larger studies, examining more genetic variants, would be needed to explore such possibility.