JCVI: Modeling the 3D Geometry of the Cortical Surface With Genetic Ancestry.
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Fan CC, Bartsch H, Schork AJ, Chen CH, Wang Y, Lo MT, Brown TT, Kuperman JM, Hagler DJ, Schork NJ, Jernigan TL, Dale AM, Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study

Modeling the 3D Geometry of the Cortical Surface With Genetic Ancestry.

Current Biology : CB. 2015 Aug 03; 25: 1988-92.

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Knowing how the human brain is shaped by migration and admixture is a critical step in studying human evolution [1, 2], as well as in preventing the bias of hidden population structure in brain research [3, 4]. Yet, the neuroanatomical differences engendered by population history are still poorly understood. Most of the inference relies on craniometric measurements, because morphology of the brain is presumed to be the neurocranium's main shaping force before bones are fused and ossified [5]. Although studies have shown that the shape variations of cranial bones are consistent with population history [6-8], it is unknown how much human ancestry information is retained by the human cortical surface. In our group's previous study, we found that area measures of cortical surface and total brain volumes of individuals of European descent in the United States correlate significantly with their ancestral geographic locations in Europe [9]. Here, we demonstrate that the three-dimensional geometry of cortical surface is highly predictive of individuals' genetic ancestry in West Africa, Europe, East Asia, and America, even though their genetic background has been shaped by multiple waves of migratory and admixture events. The geometry of the cortical surface contains richer information about ancestry than the areal variability of the cortical surface, independent of total brain volumes. Besides explaining more ancestry variance than other brain imaging measurements, the 3D geometry of the cortical surface further characterizes distinct regional patterns in the folding and gyrification of the human brain associated with each ancestral lineage.