If a population has substantial genetic variation which overlaps with that of two other groups, then there are two possible interpretations:
- It represents the population from which the other two groups sprang, or at least contributed genes to both of them
- It represents a mixture of the two other groups
Molecular Biology and Evolution, doi:10.1093/molbev/msp130
Haplotype Sharing Analysis Showing Uyghurs Are Unlikely Genetic Donors
Shuhua Xu et al.
The Uyghur are a group of people primarily residing in Xinjiang of China which is geographically located in Central Asia, from where modern humans were presumably spread in all directions reaching Europe, east and northeast Asia about 40 kya. A recent study suggested that the Uyghur are ancestry donors of the East Asian gene pool. However, an alternative hypothesis, i.e. the Uyghur is an admixture population with both East Asian (EAS) and European (EUR) ancestries is also supported by our previous studies. To test the two competing hypotheses, here we conducted a haplotype sharing analysis based on empirical and simulated data of high density single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Our results showed that more than 95% of Uyghur (UIG) haplotypes could be found in either East Asian (EAS) or European (EUR) populations, which contradicts the expectation of the null models assuming that UIG are donors. Simulation studies further indicated that the proportion of UIG private haplotypes observed in empirical data is only expected in alternative models assuming that UIG is an admixture population. Interestingly, the estimated ancestry contribution of 44%:56% (EAS:EUR) based on haplotype sharing analysis is consistent with our previous estimation with STRUCTURE analysis. Although the history of Uyghurs could be complex, our method is explicit and conservative in rejecting the null hypothesis. We concluded that the gene pool of modern Uyghurs is more likely a sole recipient with contribution from both EAS and EUR.