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Keywords:

  • population stratification bias;
  • association study;
  • gene mapping;
  • genetic structure;
  • skin pigmentation

Summary

Population-based association studies are powerful tools for the genetic mapping of complex diseases. However, this method is sensitive to potential confounding by population structure. While statistical methods that use genetic markers to detect and control for population structure have been the focus of current literature, the utility of self-defined race/ethnicity in controlling for population structure has been controversial. In this study of 1334 individuals, who self-identified as either African American, European American or Hispanic, we demonstrated that when the true underlying genetic structure and the self-defined racial/ethnic groups were roughly in agreement with each other, the self-defined race/ethnicity information was useful in the control of population structure.