It is well established that genetics plays a significant role in iron overload but much less is reported about the genetic basis of iron deficiency. In the past decade, several studies have shown associations between allelic variants in the TMPRSS6 gene and low iron status. In Africa, the burden of iron deficiency is very high which may partly be explained by genetic factors. Understanding the genetics of iron status is key to optimizing strategies to address iron deficiency.
The overall aim of the project was to investigate the genetics of iron status in African populations using a candidate gene approach. For this, we made use of data from four African ancestry populations: 686 black South African women, 628 Kenyan school children, 609 Tanzanian infants and 228 African American adults. Concentrations of haemoglobin, serum ferrtitin, serum transferrin receptor and body iron stores were determined, as well as 30 genetic variants related to iron absorption and metabolism. The selection of genetic variants was based on published information from Caucasian populations. We found that these variants were generally less common in the African populations under study. Also, associations with iron status were either absent or much weaker than earlier reported for Caucasian populations. This demonstrates that genetic information from Caucasian populations cannot readily be transferred to African populations and calls for population specific genomic research.
Associations between common variants in iron-related genes with haematological traits in populations of African ancestry
PLoS One 11 (2016)6. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 17 p.
Tumour necrosis factor allele variants and their association with the occurrence and severity of malaria in African children: a longitudinal study
Malaria Journal 14 (2015). - ISSN 1475-2875 - 11 p.
Inter-ethnic differences in genetic variants within the transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6) gene associated with iron status indicators: a systematic review with meta-analyses
Genes & Nutrition 10 (2015). - ISSN 1555-8932 - 15 p.
Common variants and haplotypes in the TF, TNF-a, and TMPRSS6 genes are associated with iron status in a female black South African population
The Journal of Nutrition 145 (2015)5. - ISSN 0022-3166 - p. 945 - 953.
More research: International nutrition