Possible ancestral structure in human populations

PLoS Genet. 2006 Jul;2(7):e105. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020105.

Abstract

Determining the evolutionary relationships between fossil hominid groups such as Neanderthals and modern humans has been a question of enduring interest in human evolutionary genetics. Here we present a new method for addressing whether archaic human groups contributed to the modern gene pool (called ancient admixture), using the patterns of variation in contemporary human populations. Our method improves on previous work by explicitly accounting for recent population history before performing the analyses. Using sequence data from the Environmental Genome Project, we find strong evidence for ancient admixture in both a European and a West African population (p approximately 10(-7)), with contributions to the modern gene pool of at least 5%. While Neanderthals form an obvious archaic source population candidate in Europe, there is not yet a clear source population candidate in West Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Fossils
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Hominidae
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Models, Statistical
  • Population Groups

Substances

  • Genetic Markers