Global and local ancestry in African-Americans: Implications for Alzheimer's disease risk

Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction African-American (AA) individuals have a higher risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) than Americans of primarily European ancestry (EA). Recently, the largest genome-wide association study in AAs to date confirmed that six of the Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related genetic variants originally discovered in EA cohorts are also risk variants in AA; however, the risk attributable to many of the loci (e.g., APOE, ABCA7) differed substantially from previous studies in EA. There likely are risk variants of higher frequency in AAs that have not been discovered. Methods We performed a comprehensive analysis of genetically determined local and global ancestry in AAs with regard to LOAD status. Results Compared to controls, LOAD cases showed higher levels of African ancestry, both globally and at several LOAD relevant loci, which explained risk for AD beyond global differences. Discussion Exploratory post hoc analyses highlight regions with greatest differences in ancestry as potential candidate regions for future genetic analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Admixture mapping
  • African-American
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Genome-wide association analysis (GWAS)
  • Local admixture
  • Local ancestry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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