Study

Physiological and genetic adaptations to diving in Sea Nomads

Study ID Alternative Stable ID Type
EGAS00001002823 Other

Study Description

Understanding the physiology and genetics of human hypoxia tolerance has important medical implications, but this phenomenon has thus far only been investigated in high-altitude human populations. Another system, yet to be explored, is humans who engage in breath-hold diving. The indigenous Bajau people (“Sea Nomads”) of Southeast Asia live a subsistence lifestyle based on breath-hold diving and are renowned for their extraordinary breath holding abilities. However, it is unknown whether this has a genetic basis. Using a comparative genomic study, we show that natural selection on genetic variants in the PDE10A gene have increased spleen size in the Bajau, providing them with a larger reservoir of oxygenated red blood cells. We also find evidence of strong natural selection specific to the Bajau on BDKRB2, a gene affecting the human diving reflex. Thus, the Bajau, and possibly other natural diving populations, provide a new opportunity to study human adaptation to hypoxia tolerance.

Study Datasets 1 dataset.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001004207
This dataset includes whole genome sequencing data from 93 Bajau and Saluan individuals that were used in the Ilardo et al 2018 study on adaptation to diving in Sea Nomads. Sequencing libraries were built using the TruSeq Nano DNA Library Preparation Kit on an Illumina NeoPrep instrument. Each pool was sequenced 125 Paired-End over one or two lanes on the Illumina HiSeq2500 (version 4 chemistry). Samples were sequenced to an average depth of 5x.
Illumina HiSeq 2500 93

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