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, 160 (4), 561-9

The Apportionment of Human Diversity Revisited


The Apportionment of Human Diversity Revisited

Keith L Hunley et al. Am J Phys Anthropol.


Objectives: Studies of the apportionment of human genetic diversity have found that local populations harbor nearly as much diversity as the species as a whole. These studies have been a valuable cornerstone in rejecting race as a biological framework in anthropology. The current study presents new analyses that use updated statistical methods based on bifurcating trees to assess the structure of human genetic diversity and its implications for the existence of canonical biological races.

Materials and methods: We examine patterns of both goodness-of-fit and lack-of-fit of two bifurcating trees to patterns of diversity determined from autosomal short tandem repeat genotypes in 1,037 people representing 52 populations with worldwide distribution.

Results: From goodness-of-fit, we infer a root for the tree within Africa, and we recapitulate a pattern of decreasing genetic diversity with increasing geographic distance from Africa. From lack-of-fit, we present tentative evidence for admixture events with archaic hominins. We do not find evidence that long-range migration or local gene flow have contributed appreciably to the lack of fit at a global scale.

Conclusion: This is the first study to find a root for a tree of human populations without comparison to a nonhuman out-group, and it is one of the first studies to identify a signature of admixture with archaic hominins without reference to ancient DNA. Our findings complement previous studies of the apportionment of human diversity and provide a more solid evolutionary foundation for the rejection of biological race. Am J Phys Anthropol 160:561-569, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: F-statistics; admixture; gene flow; generalized hierarchical modeling; genetic structure.

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