An Amish founder population reveals rare-population genetic determinants of the human lipidome

May E. Montasser, Stella Aslibekyan, Vinodh Srinivasasainagendra, Hemant K. Tiwari, Amit Patki, Minoo Bagheri, Tobias Kind, Dinesh Kumar Barupal, Sili Fan, James Perry, Kathleen A. Ryan, Alan R. Shuldiner, Donna K. Arnett, Amber L. Beitelshees, Marguerite Ryan Irvin, Jeffrey R. O’Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Identifying the genetic determinants of inter-individual variation in lipid species (lipidome) may provide deeper understanding and additional insight into the mechanistic effect of complex lipidomic pathways in CVD risk and progression beyond simple traditional lipids. Previous studies have been largely population based and thus only powered to discover associations with common genetic variants. Founder populations represent a powerful resource to accelerate discovery of previously unknown biology associated with rare population alleles that have risen to higher frequency due to genetic drift. We performed a genome-wide association scan of 355 lipid species in 650 individuals from the Amish founder population including 127 lipid species not previously tested. To the best of our knowledge, we report for the first time the lipid species associated with two rare-population but Amish-enriched lipid variants: APOB_rs5742904 and APOC3_rs76353203. We also identified novel associations for 3 rare-population Amish-enriched loci with several sphingolipids and with proposed potential functional/causal variant in each locus including GLTPD2_rs536055318, CERS5_rs771033566, and AKNA_rs531892793. We replicated 7 previously known common loci including novel associations with two sterols: androstenediol with UGT locus and estriol with SLC22A8/A24 locus. Our results show the double power of founder populations and detailed lipidome to discover novel trait-associated variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number334
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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