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Consanguinity and Inbreeding in Health and Disease in North African Populations

Authors
  • Romdhane, Lilia
  • Mezzi, Nessrine
  • Hamdi, Yosr
  • El-Kamah, Ghada
  • Barakat, Abdelhamid
  • Abdelhak, Sonia
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Aug 31, 2019
Volume
20
Pages
155–179
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-genom-083118-014954
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
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Abstract

North Africa is defined as the geographical region separated from the rest of the continent by the Sahara and from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea. The main demographic features of North African populations are their familial structure and high rates of familial and geographic endogamy, which have a proven impact on health, particularly the occurrence of genetic diseases, with a greater effect on the frequency and spectrum of the rarest forms of autosomal recessive genetic diseases. More than 500 different genetic diseases have been reported in this region, most of which are autosomal recessive. During the last few decades, there has been great interest in the molecular investigation of large consanguineous North African families. The development of local capacities has brought a substantial improvement in the molecular characterization of these diseases, but the genetic bases of half of them remain unknown. Diseases of known molecular etiology are characterized by their genetic and mutational heterogeneity, although some founder mutations are encountered relatively frequently. Some founder mutations are specific to a single country or a specific ethnic or geographic group, and others are shared by all North African countries or worldwide. The impact of consanguinity on common multifactorial diseases is less evident.

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