The project aims at building an up-to-data mapping of the HLA molecular polymorphism in human populations and at developing a well-grounded methodological framework to analyse these data in an anthropological/evolutionary perspective. The component is both traditional and new: traditional, because it is in line with the “Anthropology components” of previous workshops, the aim of which was to characterize the HLA genetic diversity of human populations at a large geographic scale; new, because we wish to address more evolutionary issues through the data analyses. Indeed, with the progress of NGS technologies, an increasing amount of HLA sequence data is produced, that offers new opportunities to unravel how the MHC genomic region evolved at the molecular level in relation to both demographic events and selective pressures. This is why we open this Component not only to HLA laboratories wishing to include their population and/or donor data to our data analysis pipeline, but also to researchers working in population genetics and molecular evolution to share their expertise in order to analyse collectively the submitted data with sound evolutionary questions and co-author the resulting publications.
This working group of the EFI Scientific Committee runs officially since May 2013 (27th EFI Conference, Maastricht). Its primary objective is to provide guidelines and tools for HLA population data analysis, and to characterise in detail the HLA molecular diversity of populations from Europe and neighbouring areas. It represents a long-term continuation of the EU-funded HLA-NET group.
Main aim of the project is to determine the feasibility and advantage to implement a Europe-wide acceptable mismatch program to facilitate transplantation of highly sensitized patients, who do not have a chance to be transplanted in their own population. The simulation studies on basis of the HLA phenotypes in different European populations will show the theoretical advantage of a Europe-wide acceptable mismatch program. The results of these studies will be published on the EUROSTAM website and in an international peer reviewed journal.
The EU-funded project HLA-NET has been running between 2009 and 2013, and its long-term continuation is now assumed by the EFI Population Genetics project which is open to interested researchers. The complete information on this project is given below.
The molecular characterization of the HLA (Human Leucocyte Antigen) polymorphism in human populations represents a crucial step in several disciplines concerned by public health (histocompatibility/transplantation and epidemiology) and also constitutes a main research focus in human molecular evolution (molecular population genetics). While needing similar requirements at the different levels of their analysis (good quality of sampling, high resolution HLA typing, powerful biostatistic analyses adapted to complex HLA data, easy access to specific population databases and understandable computer tools), the investigators working in these different fields are currently limited in their interactions.
The project AHPD was a component of the International Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Workshop (IHIW), being fully active during its 15th (2008, Buzios, Brazil) and 16th (2012, Liverpool, UK) editions. Its main objective was to analyze HLA population data from all over the world to help reconstructing the history of modern humans and better understand the mechanisms underlying the evolution of this complex polymorphism. Population samples from all continents were provided and analyzed by the participants, and two main papers were published (Nunes et al. 2012 and Riccio et al. 2013). Like for HLA-NET, the long-term continuation of the AHPD project is now partly assumed by the EFI Population Genetics working group.