Dissecting Generalizability and Actionability of Disease-Associated Genes From 20 Worldwide Ethnolinguistic Cultural Groups

Emile R. Chimusa*, Shatha Alosaimi, Christian D. Bope

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Findings resulting from whole-genome sequencing (WGS) have markedly increased due to the massive evolvement of sequencing methods and have led to further investigations such as clinical actionability of genes, as documented by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG). ACMG’s actionable genes (ACGs) may not necessarily be clinically actionable across all populations worldwide. It is critical to examine the actionability of these genes in different populations. Here, we have leveraged a combined WES from the African Genome Variation and 1000 Genomes Project to examine the generalizability of ACG and potential actionable genes from four diseases: high-burden malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell disease. Our results suggest that ethnolinguistic cultural groups from Africa, particularly Bantu and Khoesan, have high genetic diversity, high proportion of derived alleles at low minor allele frequency (0.0–0.1), and the highest proportion of pathogenic variants within HIV, TB, malaria, and sickle cell diseases. In contrast, ethnolinguistic cultural groups from the non-Africa continent, including Latin American, Afro-related, and European-related groups, have a high proportion of pathogenic variants within ACG than most of the ethnolinguistic cultural groups from Africa. Overall, our results show high genetic diversity in the present actionable and known disease-associated genes of four African high-burden diseases, suggesting the limitation of transferability or generalizability of ACG. This supports the use of personalized medicine as beneficial to the worldwide population as well as actionable gene list recommendation to further foster equitable global healthcare. The results point out the bias in the knowledge about the frequency distribution of these phenotypes and genetic variants associated with some diseases, especially in African and African ancestry populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number835713
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


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