Regions of homozygosity in three Southeast Asian populations Academic Article uri icon


  • The genomes of outbred populations were first shown in 2006 to contain regions of homozygosity (ROHs) of several megabases. Further studies have also investigated the characteristics of ROHs in healthy individuals in various populations but there are no studies on Singapore populations to date. This study aims to identify and investigate the characteristics of ROHs in three Singapore populations. A total of 268 samples (96 Chinese, 89 Malays and 83 Indians) are genotyped on Illumina Human 1 M Beadchip and Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0. We use the PennCNV algorithm to detect ROHs. We report an abundance of ROHs (≥500 kb), with an average of more than one hundred regions per individual. On average, the Indian population has the lowest number of ROHs and smallest total length of ROHs per individual compared with the Chinese and Malay populations. We further investigate the relationship between the occurrence of ROHs and haplotype frequency, regional linkage disequilibrium (LD) and positive selection. Based on the results of this data set, we find that the frequency of occurrence of ROHs is positively associated with haplotype frequency and regional LD. The majority of regions detected for recent positive selection and regions with differential LD between populations overlap with the ROH loci. When we consider both the location of the ROHs and the allelic form of the ROHs, we are able to separate the populations by principal component analysis, demonstrating that ROHs contain information on population structure and the demographic history of a population.


  • Teo, Shu-Mei
  • Ku, Chee-Seng
  • Salim, Agus
  • Naidoo, Nasheen
  • Chia, Kee-Seng
  • Pawitan, Yudi

publication date

  • February 2012