Estimating Ethnic Admixture from Pedigree Data

Janet S. Sinsheimer, Christopher L. Plaisier, Adriana Huertas-Vazquez, Carlos Aguilar-Salinas, Teresa Tusie-Luna, Päivi Pajukanta, Kenneth Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper introduces a likelihood method of estimating ethnic admixture that uses individuals, pedigrees, or a combination of individuals and pedigrees. For each founder of a pedigree, admixture proportions are calculated by conditioning on the pedigree-wide genotypes at all ancestry-informative markers. These estimates are then propagated down the pedigree to the nonfounders by a simple averaging process. The large-sample standard errors of the founders' proportions can be similarly transformed into standard errors for the admixture proportions of the descendants. These standard errors are smaller than the corresponding standard errors when each individual is treated independently. Both hard and soft information on a founder's ancestry can be accommodated in this scheme, which has been implemented in the genetic software package Mendel. The utility of the method is demonstrated on simulated data and a real data example involving Mexican families of mixed Amerindian and Spanish ancestry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-755
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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