Parallel selection on TRPV6 in human populations

David A Hughes, Kun Tang, Rainer Strotmann, Torsten Schöneberg, Jean Prenen, Bernd Nilius, Mark Stoneking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We identified and examined a candidate gene for local directional selection in Europeans, TRPV6, and conclude that selection has acted on standing genetic variation at this locus, creating parallel soft sweep events in humans. A novel modification of the extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH) test was utilized, which compares EHH for a single allele across populations, to investigate the signature of selection at TRPV6 and neighboring linked loci in published data sets for Europeans, Asians and African-Americans, as well as in newly-obtained sequence data for additional populations. We find that all non-African populations carry a signature of selection on the same haplotype at the TRPV6 locus. The selective footprints, however, are significantly differentiated between non-African populations and estimated to be younger than an ancestral population of non-Africans. The possibility of a single selection event occurring in an ancestral population of non-Africans was tested by simulations and rejected. The putatively-selected TRPV6 haplotype contains three candidate sites for functional differences, namely derived non-synonymous substitutions C157R, M378V and M681T. Potential functional differences between the ancestral and derived TRPV6 proteins were investigated by cloning the ancestral and derived forms, transfecting cell lines, and carrying out electrophysiology experiments via patch clamp analysis. No statistically-significant differences in biophysical channel function were found, although one property of the protein, namely Ca(2+) dependent inactivation, may show functionally relevant differences between the ancestral and derived forms. Although the reason for selection on this locus remains elusive, this is the first demonstration of a widespread parallel selection event acting on standing genetic variation in humans, and highlights the utility of between population EHH statistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1686
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2008


  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Calcium Channels/genetics
  • Continental Population Groups/genetics
  • Electrophysiology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group/genetics
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Humans
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Selection, Genetic
  • TRPV Cation Channels/genetics


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