Characterising private and shared signatures of positive selection in 37 Asian populations

Eur J Hum Genet. 2017 Apr;25(4):499-508. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2016.181. Epub 2017 Jan 18.


The Asian Diversity Project (ADP) assembled 37 cosmopolitan and ethnic minority populations in Asia that have been densely genotyped across over half a million markers to study patterns of genetic diversity and positive natural selection. We performed population structure analyses of the ADP populations and divided these populations into four major groups based on their genographic information. By applying a highly sensitive algorithm haploPS to locate genomic signatures of positive selection, 140 distinct genomic regions exhibiting evidence of positive selection in at least one population were identified. We examined the extent of signal sharing for regions that were selected in multiple populations and observed that populations clustered in a similar fashion to that of how the ancestry clades were phylogenetically defined. In particular, populations predominantly located in South Asia underwent considerably different adaptation as compared with populations from the other geographical regions. Signatures of positive selection present in multiple geographical regions were predicted to be older and have emerged prior to the separation of the populations in the different regions. In contrast, selection signals present in a single population group tended to be of lower frequencies and thus can be attributed to recent evolutionary events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Population / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic*