Nunavik Inuit in Canada’s Arctic Are Genetically Unique & Share Variants That May Correlate with Brain Aneurysms, Among Distinct Genetic Signatures In Pathways Involving Lipid Metabolism & Cell Adhesion, Possibly Adaptive to High-Fat Diets & Extreme Cold

A new study has found that an Inuit population in Canada's Arctic are genetically distinct from any known group, and certain genetic variants in the population are correlated with brain aneurysm. Geographically isolated populations often develop unique genetic traits that result from their successful adaptation to specific environments. Unfortunately, these adaptations sometimes predispose them to certain health issues if the environment is changed. The genetic background of these populations are often poorly understood because they live far from scientific research centres. Canada's Inuit have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disorders, as well as increased incidence of brain aneurysms, relative to the the general population. To learn about the possible genetic origin of these disorders, researchers at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) of McGill University analyzed the genetic characteristics of 170 Inuit volunteers from Nunavik, a region of northern Quebec. This was done with approval from the Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. Using exome sequencing and genome-wide genotyping, the researchers found several interesting traits among the Nunavik Inuit. They are a distinct genetic population, whose closest relatives are the Paleo-Eskimos, a people that inhabited the Arctic before the Inuit. The Nunavik Inuit have distinct genetic signatures in pathways involving lipid metabolism and cell adhesion. These may be adaptations to adjust to the high-fat diet and extreme cold of the Canadian north. One of these unique genetic variants correlates with a higher risk of brain aneurysm, also known as intracranial aneurysm, a weakening in the wall of a cerebral artery that causes ballooning of the artery.
Login Or Register To Read Full Story