March 21, 2005

Geography predicts neutral genetic diversity

A short new paper has discovered that geographical distance from Ethiopia, a putative cradle of mankind, predicts the genetic diversity of human populations. In other words, the further a population is from Ethiopia, the lower its genetic diversity is.

Current Biology Volume 15, Issue 5 , 8 March 2005, Pages R159-R160

Geography predicts neutral genetic diversity of human populations

Franck Prugnolle et al.


A leading theory for the origin of modern humans, the ‘recent African origin’ (RAO) model [1.], postulates that the ancestors of all modern humans originated in East Africa and that, around 100,000 years ago, some modern humans left the African continent and subsequently colonised the entire world, displacing previously established human species such as Neanderthals in Europe [2. and 3.]. This scenario is supported by the observation that human populations from Africa are genetically the most diverse [2.] and that the genetic diversity of non-African populations is negatively correlated with their genetic differentiation towards populations from Africa [3.].


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