Two quantitative trait loci influence whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) infection in a Nepalese population

Sarah Williams-Blangero, John L Vandeberg, Janardan Subedi, Bharat Jha, Tom D Dyer, John Blangero
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2008 April 15, 197 (8): 1198-203

BACKGROUND: Whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) infection is a soil-transmitted helminth infection that affects >1 billion people. It is a serious public health problem in many developing countries and can result in deficits in growth and cognitive development. In a follow-up study of significant heritability for whipworm infection, we conducted the first genome scan for quantitative trait loci (QTL) influencing the heritability of susceptibility to this important parasitic disease.

METHODS: Whipworm egg counts were determined for 1,253 members of the Jirel population of eastern Nepal. All individuals in the study sample belonged to a single pedigree including >26,000 pairs of relatives that are informative for genetic analysis.

RESULTS: Linkage analysis of genome scan data generated for the pedigree provided unambiguous evidence for 2 QTL influencing susceptibility to whipworm infection, one located on chromosome 9 (logarithm of the odds ratio [LOD] score, 3.35; genomewide P = .0138) and the other located on chromosome 18 (LOD score, 3.29; genomewide P = .0159). There was also suggestive evidence that 2 loci located on chromosomes 12 and 13 influenced whipworm infection.

CONCLUSION: The results of this first genome scan for T. trichiura egg counts provides new information on the determinants of genetic predisposition to whipworm infection.

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