A genome-wide association study of n-3 and n-6 plasma fatty acids in a Singaporean Chinese population

Rajkumar Dorajoo, Ye Sun, Yi Han, Tingjing Ke, Ayala Burger, Xuling Chang, Hui Qi Low, Weihua Guan, Rozenn N. Lemaitre, Chiea Chuen Khor, Jian Min Yuan, Woon Puay Koh, Choon Nam Ong, E. Shyong Tai, Jianjun Liu, Rob M. van Dam, Chew Kiat Heng, Yechiel Friedlander

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46 Scopus citations


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a major impact on human health. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several genetic loci that are associated with plasma levels of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs in primarily subjects of European ancestry. However, the relevance of these findings has not been evaluated extensively in other ethnic groups. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate for genetic loci associated with n-3 and n-6 PUFAs and to validate the role of recently identified index loci using data from a Singaporean Chinese population. Using a GWAS approach, we evaluated associations with plasma concentrations of three n-3 PUFAs [alphalinolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid], four n-6 PUFAs [linoleic acid (LA), gammalinolenic acid, dihomogammalinolenic acid (DGLA) and arachidonic acid], and estimates of delta-5 desaturase and delta-6 desaturase activities among the participants (N = 1361) of the Singaporean Chinese Health Study. Our results reveal robust genome-wide associations (p value <5 × 10−8) with ALA, all four n-6 PUFAs, and delta-6 desaturase activity at the FADS1/FADS2 locus. We further replicated the associations between common index variants at the NTAN1/PDXDC1 locus and n-6 PUFAs LA and DGLA, and between the JMJD1C locus and n-6 PUFA LA (p value between 0.0490 and 9.88 × 10−4). These associations were independent of dietary intake of PUFAs. In aggregate, we show that genetic loci that influence plasma concentrations of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs are shared across different ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Genome-wide association study
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • n-3 Fatty acids
  • n-6 Fatty acids


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