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Haplotype analysis of the internationally distributed BRCA1 c.3331_3334delCAAG founder mutation reveals a common ancestral origin in Iberia.



The BRCA1 c.3331_3334delCAAG founder mutation has been reported in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer families from multiple Hispanic groups. We aimed to evaluate BRCA1 c.3331_3334delCAAG haplotype diversity in cases of European, African, and Latin American ancestry.


BC mutation carrier cases from Colombia (n = 32), Spain (n = 13), Portugal (n = 2), Chile (n = 10), Africa (n = 1), and Brazil (n = 2) were genotyped with the genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays to evaluate haplotype diversity around BRCA1 c.3331_3334delCAAG. Additional Portuguese (n = 13) and Brazilian (n = 18) BC mutation carriers were genotyped for 15 informative SNPs surrounding BRCA1. Data were phased using SHAPEIT2, and identical by descent regions were determined using BEAGLE and GERMLINE. DMLE+ was used to date the mutation in Colombia and Iberia.


The haplotype reconstruction revealed a shared 264.4-kb region among carriers from all six countries. The estimated mutation age was ~ 100 generations in Iberia and that it was introduced to South America early during the European colonization period.


Our results suggest that this mutation originated in Iberia and later introduced to Colombia and South America at the time of Spanish colonization during the early 1500s. We also found that the Colombian mutation carriers had higher European ancestry, at the BRCA1 gene harboring chromosome 17, than controls, which further supported the European origin of the mutation. Understanding founder mutations in diverse populations has implications in implementing cost-effective, ancestry-informed screening.

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