Beyond borders: A commentary on the benefit of promoting immigrant populations in genome-wide association studies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Immigrants are an important part of many high-income nations, in that they contribute to the sociocultural tapestry, economic well-being, and demographic diversity of their receiving countries and communities. Yet, genomic studies to date have generally focused on non-immigrant, European-ancestry populations. Although this approach has proven fruitful in discovering and validating genomic loci, within the context of racially/ethnically diverse countries like the United States-wherein half of immigrants hail from Latin America and another quarter from Asia-this approach is insufficient. There is a persistent diversity gap in genomic research in terms of both current samples and genome-wide association studies, meaning that the field's understanding of genetic architecture and gene-environmental interactions is being hampered. In this commentary, I provide motivating examples of recent research developments related to the following: (1) how the increased ancestral diversity, such as seen among Latin American immigrants, improves power to discover and document genomic loci, (2) informs how environmental factors, such as immigration-related exposures, interact with genotypes to influence phenotypes, and (3) how inclusion can be promoted through community-engaged research programs and policies. I conclude that greater inclusion of immigrants in genomic research can move the field forward toward novel discoveries and interventions to address racial/ethnic health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100205
JournalHuman Genetics and Genomics Advances
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 13 2023

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