Previous studies have shown a relationship between health-related phenotypes and the degree of African, European, or Native American genetic admixture, indicating that there may be a genetic component to these phenotypes. However, these relationships may be driven to a large extent by the environmental differences that co-vary with admixture differences between and within groups. In this study, we examine the relationship between genetic admixture and two phenotypic measurements that are potentially related to health: body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat (PBF). In addition to admixture proportions, we attempt to assess the influence of some environmental covariates by examining how the phenotypes vary with self-reported household income, education of parents, and physical activity level. Genetic, anthropometric, and environmental data were collected from 170 self-reported Hispanic and Native American university students in Albuquerque, NM. We examine the relationships between genetic admixture, phenotype, and environment in both the full sample, as well as in Hispanics and Native Americans separately. Among Hispanics, we find no significant relationship between genetic admixture and body composition. Among Native Americans, despite a small sample size, we find a statistically significant, negative relationship between European genetic admixture and PBF and BMI, after adjusting for other predictor variables. We compare our findings to previous research, and discuss their implications for understanding health disparities within and between ethnic groups.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics