While the number of success stories for mapping genes associated with complex diseases using genome-wide association approaches is growing, there is still much work to be done in developing methods for such studies when the samples are collected from a population, which may not be homogeneous. Here we report the first genome-wide association study to identify genes associated with asthma in an admixed population. We genotyped 96 Puerto Rican moderate to severe asthma cases and 88 controls as well as 109 samples representing Puerto Rico's founding populations using the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mapping 100K array sets. The data from samples representing Puerto Rico's founding populations was used to identify ancestry informative markers for admixture mapping analyses. In addition, a genome-wide association analysis using logistic regression was performed on the data. Although neither admixture mapping nor regression analysis gave any significant association with asthma after correction for multiple testing, an overlap analysis using the top scoring SNPs from different methods suggested chromosomal regions 5q23.3 and 13q13.3 as potential regions harboring genes for asthma in Puerto Ricans. The validation analysis of these two regions in 284 Puerto Rican asthma trios gave significant association for the 5q23.3 region. Our results provide strong evidence that the previously linked 5q23 region is associated with asthma in Puerto Ricans. The detection of causative variants in this region will require fine mapping and functional validation.
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