September 27, 2013

Reconstructing the Human Past using Ancient and Modern Genomes

A reader alerts me to the availability of this comprehensive summary (pdf) which references a number of new manuscripts. A quite interesting picture which extends the author's previous work on ancient DNA from Sweden. Note the addition of a "a Mesolithic individual from Stora Förvar cave on the Stora Karlsö Island in the Baltic Sea" and more Ajv Neolithic hunters and Go:k Neolithic TRB farmers compared to the Science paper.

Reconstructing the Human Past using Ancient and Modern Genomes



Skoglund, P. 2013. Reconstructing the Human Past using Ancient and Modern Genomes. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 1069. 68 pp. Uppsala. ISBN 978-91-554-8744-7. The study of DNA variation is one of the most promising avenues for learning about the evolutionary and historical past of humans and other species. However, the difficulty associated with obtaining DNA directly from ancient remains have for long kept genomic studies of population history trapped in time; confined to interpreting patterns of modern-day variation without direct historical observations. In this thesis, I outline new approaches for the retrieval, analysis and interpretation of large-scale genomic data from ancient populations, including solutions to overcome problems associated with limited genome coverage, modernday contamination, temporal differences between samples, and post-mortem DNA damage. I integrate large-scale genomic data sets from ancient remains with modern-day variation to trace the human past; from traits targeted by natural selection in the early ancestors of anatomically modern humans, to their descendants' interbreeding with archaic populations in Eurasia and the spread of agriculture in Europe and Africa. By first reconstructing the earliest population diversification events of early modern humans using a novel large-scale genomic data set from Khoe-San populations in southern Africa, I devise a new approach to search for genomic patterns of selective sweeps in ancestral populations and report evidence for skeletal development as a major target of selection during the emergence of early modern humans. Comparing publicly available genomes from archaic humans, I further find that the distribution of archaic human ancestry in Eurasia is more complex than previously thought. In the first direct genomic study of population structure in prehistoric populations, I demonstrate that individuals associated with farming- and hunter-gatherer complexes in Neolithic Scandinavia were strongly genetically differentiated, and direct comparisons with modern-day populations as well as other prehistoric individuals from Southern Europe suggest that this structure originated from Northward expansion of Neolithic farming populations. Finally, I develop a bioinformatic approach for removing modern-day contamination from large-scale ancient DNA sequencing data, and use this method to reconstruct the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a Siberian Neandertal that is affected by substantial modern-day contamination.

Link (pdf)

Ancient mtDNA from Ukraine (Newton 2011)

I had seen this before, and it appears to have become downloadable.

Ancient Mitochondrial DNA From Pre-historic Southeastern Europe: The Presence of East Eurasian Haplogroups Provides Evidence of Interactions with South Siberians Across the Central Asian Steppe Belt
Jeremy R. Newton, Grand Valley State University

Studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymorphism have provided valuable insights for understanding patterns of human migration and interaction. The ability to recover ancient mtDNA sequence data from post-mortem bone and tissue samples allows us to view snapshots of historic gene pools firsthand, provided that great care is taken to prevent sample contamination. In this study, we analyzed the DNA sequence of the first hypervariable segment (HVSI) of the mtDNA control region, as well as a portion of the coding region, in 14 individuals from three collective burials from the Neolithic Dnieper-Donetz culture and three individuals from Bronze Age Kurgan burials, all located in modern-day Ukraine on the northern shores of the Black Sea (the North Pontic Region, or NPR). While most of our samples possessed mtDNA haplotypes that can be linked to European and Near Eastern populations, three Neolithic and all three Bronze Age individuals belonged to mtDNA haplogroup C, which is common in East Eurasian, particularly South Siberian, populations but exceedingly rare in Europe. Phylogeographic network analysis revealed that our samples are located at or near the ancestral node for haplogroup C and that derived lineages branching from the Neolithic samples were present in Bronze Age Kurgans. In light of the numerous examples of mtDNA admixture that can be found in both Europe and Siberia, it appears that the NPR and South Siberia are located at opposite ends of a genetic continuum established at some point prior to the Neolithic. This migration corridor may have been established during the Last Glacial Maximum due to extensive glaciation in northern Eurasia and a consequent aridization of western Asia. This implies the demographic history for the European gene pool is more complex than previously considered and also has significant implications regarding the origin of Kurgan populations.

September 26, 2013

Tuberculosis and Out of Africa

Nature Genetics 45, 1176–1182 (2013) doi:10.1038/ng.2744

Out-of-Africa migration and Neolithic coexpansion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with modern humans

Iñaki Comas et al.

Tuberculosis caused 20% of all human deaths in the Western world between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries and remains a cause of high mortality in developing countries. In analogy to other crowd diseases, the origin of human tuberculosis has been associated with the Neolithic Demographic Transition, but recent studies point to a much earlier origin. We analyzed the whole genomes of 259 M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains and used this data set to characterize global diversity and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this pathogen. Coalescent analyses indicate that MTBC emerged about 70,000 years ago, accompanied migrations of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and expanded as a consequence of increases in human population density during the Neolithic period. This long coevolutionary history is consistent with MTBC displaying characteristics indicative of adaptation to both low and high host densities.


Y chromosomes of Slavic minorities inhabiting Vojvodina, Serbia

From the paper:
Scrutiny of predicted haplogroups revealed high incidence of haplogroup R1a in both Northern Slavic minorities inhabiting Serbia (42.0% and 44.0% in Slovaks and Ruthenians, respectively), which was comparable to its prevalence in the two Northern Slavic reference populations (45.1% and 43.5% in Slovaks and Ukrainians, respectively), but considerably higher than the one observed in Southern Slavic Serbs (15.1%, Table S4).
Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 126–131

Northern Slavs from Serbia do not show a founder effect at autosomal and Y-chromosomal STRs and retain their paternal genetic heritage

Krzysztof Rębała et al.

Studies on Y-chromosomal markers revealed significant genetic differentiation between Southern and Northern (Western and Eastern) Slavic populations. The northern Serbian region of Vojvodina is inhabited by Southern Slavic Serbian majority and, inter alia, Western Slavic (Slovak) and Eastern Slavic (Ruthenian) minorities. In the study, 15 autosomal STR markers were analysed in unrelated Slovaks, Ruthenians and Serbs from northern Serbia and western Slovakia. Additionally, Slovak males from Serbia were genotyped for 17 Y-chromosomal STR loci. The results were compared to data available for other Slavic populations. Genetic distances for autosomal markers revealed homogeneity between Serbs from northern Serbia and Slovaks from western Slovakia and distinctiveness of Serbian Slovaks and Ruthenians. Y-STR variation showed a clear genetic departure of the Slovaks and Ruthenians inhabiting Vojvodina from their Serbian neighbours and genetic similarity to the Northern Slavic populations of Slovakia and Ukraine. Admixture estimates revealed negligible Serbian paternal ancestry in both Northern Slavic minorities of Vojvodina, providing evidence for their genetic isolation from the Serbian majority population. No reduction of genetic diversity at autosomal and Y-chromosomal markers was found, excluding genetic drift as a reason for differences observed at autosomal STRs. Analysis of molecular variance detected significant population stratification of autosomal and Y-chromosomal microsatellites in the three Slavic populations of northern Serbia, indicating necessity for separate databases used for estimations of frequencies of autosomal and Y-chromosomal STR profiles in forensic casework. Our results demonstrate that regarding Y-STR haplotypes, Serbian Slovaks and Ruthenians fit in the Eastern European metapopulation defined in the Y chromosome haplotype reference database.


September 25, 2013

Pre-farming population expansions (Aimé et al. 2013)

Mol Biol Evol (2013) doi: 10.1093/molbev/mst156

Human genetic data reveal contrasting demographic patterns between sedentary and nomadic populations that predate the emergence of farming.

C. Aimé et al.

Demographic changes are known to leave footprints on genetic polymorphism. Together with the increased availability of large polymorphism datasets, coalescent-based methods allow inferring the past demography of populations from their present-day patterns of genetic diversity. Here, we analyzed both nuclear (20 non-coding regions) and mitochondrial (HVS-I) re-sequencing data to infer the demographic history of 66 African and Eurasian human populations presenting contrasting life-styles (nomadic hunter-gatherers, nomadic herders and sedentary farmers). This allowed us to investigate the relationship between life-style and demography, and to address the long-standing debate about the chronology of demographic expansions and the Neolithic transition. In Africa, we inferred expansion events for farmers, but constant population sizes or contraction events for hunter-gatherers. In Eurasia, we inferred higher expansion rates for farmers than herders with HVS-I data, except in Central Asia and Korea. Although isolation and admixture processes could have impacted our demographic inferences, these processes alone seem unlikely to explain the contrasted demographic histories inferred in populations with different life-styles. The small expansion rates or constant population sizes inferred for herders and hunter-gatherers may thus result from constraints linked to nomadism. However, autosomal data revealed contraction events for two sedentary populations in Eurasia, which may be caused by founder effects. Finally, the inferred expansions likely predated the emergence of agriculture and herding. This suggests that human populations could have started to expand in Paleolithic times, and that strong Paleolithic expansions in some populations may have ultimately favored their shift towards agriculture during the Neolithic.


sNMF for fast estimation of admixture coefficients

This seems quite a useful improvement in performance, especially for those who are CPU-limited. The software is available here.

UPDATE (Feb 6): This paper has now been published in Genetics.

arXiv:1309.6208 [q-bio.PE]

Fast Inference of Admixture Coefficients Using Sparse Non-negative Matrix Factorization Algorithms

Eric Frichot et al.

Inference of individual admixture coefficients, which is important for population genetic and association studies, is commonly performed using compute-intensive likelihood algorithms. With the availability of large population genomic data sets, fast versions of likelihood algorithms have attracted considerable attention. Reducing the computational burden of estimation algorithms remains, however, a major challenge. Here, we present a fast and efficient method for estimating individual admixture coefficients based on sparse non-negative matrix factorization algorithms. We implemented our method in the computer program sNMF, and applied it to human and plant genomic data sets. The performances of sNMF were then compared to the likelihood algorithm implemented in the computer program ADMIXTURE. Without loss of accuracy, sNMF computed estimates of admixture coefficients within run-times approximately 10 to 30 times faster than those of ADMIXTURE.


September 23, 2013

Simulating three thousand years of history

There is a video in the press release for this paper showing how the simulation matches up with reality.

PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308825110

War, space, and the evolution of Old World complex societies

Peter Turchin et al.

How did human societies evolve from small groups, integrated by face-to-face cooperation, to huge anonymous societies of today, typically organized as states? Why is there so much variation in the ability of different human populations to construct viable states? Existing theories are usually formulated as verbal models and, as a result, do not yield sharply defined, quantitative predictions that could be unambiguously tested with data. Here we develop a cultural evolutionary model that predicts where and when the largest-scale complex societies arose in human history. The central premise of the model, which we test, is that costly institutions that enabled large human groups to function without splitting up evolved as a result of intense competition between societies—primarily warfare. Warfare intensity, in turn, depended on the spread of historically attested military technologies (e.g., chariots and cavalry) and on geographic factors (e.g., rugged landscape). The model was simulated within a realistic landscape of the Afroeurasian landmass and its predictions were tested against a large dataset documenting the spatiotemporal distribution of historical large-scale societies in Afroeurasia between 1,500 BCE and 1,500 CE. The model-predicted pattern of spread of large-scale societies was very similar to the observed one. Overall, the model explained 65% of variance in the data. An alternative model, omitting the effect of diffusing military technologies, explained only 16% of variance. Our results support theories that emphasize the role of institutions in state-building and suggest a possible explanation why a long history of statehood is positively correlated with political stability, institutional quality, and income per capita.


Ancestry and Admixture of Domesticated Cattle

Quite an interesting new preprint on the arXiv.

arXiv:1309.5118 [q-bio.PE]

Worldwide Patterns of Ancestry, Divergence, and Admixture in Domesticated Cattle

Jared E. Decker et al.

The domestication and development of cattle has considerably impacted human societies, but the histories of cattle breeds have been poorly understood especially for African, Asian, and American breeds. Using genotypes from 43,043 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers scored in 1,543 animals, we evaluate the population structure of 134 domesticated bovid breeds. Regardless of the analytical method or sample subset, the three major groups of Asian indicine, Eurasian taurine, and African taurine were consistently observed. Patterns of geographic dispersal resulting from co-migration with humans and exportation are recognizable in phylogenetic networks. All analytical methods reveal patterns of hybridization which occurred after divergence. Using 19 breeds, we map the cline of indicine introgression into Africa. We infer that African taurine possess a large portion of wild African auroch ancestry, causing their divergence from Eurasian taurine. We detect exportation patterns in Asia and identify a cline of Eurasian taurine/indicine hybridization in Asia. We also identify the influence of species other than Bos taurus in the formation of Asian breeds. We detect the pronounced influence of Shorthorn cattle in the formation of European breeds. Iberian and Italian cattle possess introgression from African taurine. American Criollo cattle are shown to be of Iberian, and not African, decent. Indicine introgression into American cattle occurred in the Americas, and not Europe. We argue that cattle migration, movement and trading followed by admixture have been important forces in shaping modern bovine genomic variation.


September 19, 2013

Ancient genomes mirror mode of subsistence rather than geography in prehistoric Europe (preprint)

This is an abstract of a preprint not currently available, and seems to build on previous work by the same authors.

Ancient genomes mirror mode of subsistence rather than geography in prehistoric Europe

Pontus Skoglund et al.

Recent ancient DNA studies have provided new evidence for prehistoric population structure associated with the contentious transition to an agricultural lifestyle in Europe. In this study, we infer human population structure and history in Holocene Europe by generating ancient genomic sequence data from 9 Scandinavian individuals associated with the foraging Pitted Ware Culture and the agricultural Funnel Beaker Culture (TRB). We obtained up to 1.1x coverage of the genomes for the nine individuals allowing direct comparisons of the two groups. We show that the Neolithic Scandinavian individuals show remarkable population structure corresponding to their cultural association. Looking beyond Scandinavia, we integrate this data with ancient genomes from Southern Europe and find that the Tyrolean Iceman from an agricultural context is most similar to Scandinavian individuals from a farming context, whereas Mesolithic Iberian hunter-gatherers are most similar to Scandinavian hunter-gatherers, opposite to what would have been predicted from their geographical origins. This finding shows that among these individuals, lifestyle is the major determinant of genetic ancestry rather than geography. Comparisons with modern populations reveal a latitudinal relationship where Southern European populations such as Sardinians are closely related with the genetic variation of the agricultural groups, whereas hunter-gatherer individuals appear to have the closest relationship with Baltic populations such as Lithuanians and present-day Scandinavians. Our results also demonstrate that while Middle Eastern populations are not the most similar to Neolithic farmers, this observation can be explained by African-related admixture in more recent times for Middle Eastern groups, which, once accounted for, reveals that the other major component of their ancestry resembles Neolithic farmers. While present-day Scandinavian populations are intermediate between the two groups, consistent with admixture, they appear genetically slightly closer to Neolithic hunter-gatherers than Neolithic farmers. This suggests a model where initial colonization by agricultural populations was followed by later admixture with hunter-gatherer populations or gene flow from other regions.


Neolithic boom and bust in Ireland

Journal of Archaeological Science doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.08.009

Neolithic agriculture on the European western frontier: the boom and bust of early farming in Ireland

Nicki J. Whitehouse et al.

A multi-disciplinary study assessing the evidence for agriculture in Neolithic Ireland is presented, examining the timing, extent and nature of settlement and farming. Bayesian analyses of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological 14C data have allowed us to re-examine evidential strands within a strong chronological framework. While the nature and timing of the very beginning of the Neolithic in Ireland is still debated, our results – based on new Bayesian chronologies of plant macro-remains – are consistent with a rapid and abrupt transition to agriculture from c. 3750 cal BC, though there are hints of earlier Neolithic presence at a number of sites. We have emphatically confirmed the start of extensive Neolithic settlement in Ireland with the existence of a distinct ‘house horizon’, dating to 3720-3620 cal BC, lasting for up to a century. Cereals were being consumed at many sites during this period, with emmer wheat dominant, but also barley (naked and hulled), as well as occasional evidence for einkorn wheat, naked wheat and flax. The earliest farmers in Ireland, like farmers elsewhere across NW Europe, were not engaged in shifting cultivation, but practised longer-term fixed-plot agriculture. The association between early agriculture and the Elm Decline seen in many pollen diagrams shows that this latter event was not synchronous across all sites investigated, starting earlier in the north compared with the west, but that there is a strong coincidence with early agriculture at many sites. After this early boom, there are changes in the nature of settlement records; aside from passage tombs, the evidence for activity between 3400-3100 cal BC is limited. From 3400 cal BC, we see a decrease in the frequency of cereal evidence and an increase in some wild resources (e.g. fruits, but not nuts, in the records), alongside evidence for re-afforestation in pollen diagrams (3500–3000 cal BC). Changes occur at a time of worsening climatic conditions, as shown in Irish bog oak and reconstructed bog surface wetness records, although the links between the various records, and assessment of causes and effects, will require further investigation and may prove complex. This period seems to have been one of environmental, landscape, settlement and economic change. The later 4th millennium BC emerges as a period that would benefit from focused research attention, particularly as the observed changes in Ireland seem to have parallels in Britain and further afield.


September 18, 2013

Genetic structure of Kuwaiti population

PLoS ONE 8(9): e74913. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074913

Genetic Substructure of Kuwaiti Population Reveals Migration History

Osama Alsmadi et al.

The State of Kuwait is characterized by settlers from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regions of the Arabian Peninsula. The settlements and subsequent admixtures have shaped the genetics of Kuwait. High prevalence of recessive disorders and metabolic syndromes (that increase risk of diabetes) is seen in the peninsula. Understanding the genetic structure of its population will aid studies designed to decipher the underlying causes of these disorders. In this study, we analyzed 572,366 SNP markers from 273 Kuwaiti natives genotyped using the illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip. Model-based clustering identified three genetic subgroups with different levels of admixture. A high level of concordance (Mantel test, p=0.0001 for 9999 repeats) was observed between the derived genetic clusters and the surname-based ancestries. Use of Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) data to understand admixtures in each group reveals the following: the first group (Kuwait P) is largely of West Asian ancestry, representing Persians with European admixture; the second group (Kuwait S) is predominantly of city-dwelling Saudi Arabian tribe ancestry, and the third group (Kuwait B) includes most of the tent-dwelling Bedouin surnames and is characterized by the presence of 17% African ancestry. Identity by Descent and Homozygosity analyses find Kuwait’s population to be heterogeneous (placed between populations that have large amount of ROH and the ones with low ROH) with Kuwait S as highly endogamous, and Kuwait B as diverse. Population differentiation FST estimates place Kuwait P near Asian populations, Kuwait S near Negev Bedouin tribes, and Kuwait B near the Mozabite population. FST distances between the groups are in the range of 0.005 to 0.008; distances of this magnitude are known to cause false positives in disease association studies. Results of analysis for genetic features such as linkage disequilibrium decay patterns conform to Kuwait’s geographical location at the nexus of Africa, Europe, and Asia.


September 16, 2013

Aurignacian rock art from Altxerri B cave

Journal of Human Evolution doi:0.1016/j.jhevol.2013.08.001

Not only Chauvet: Dating Aurignacian rock art in Altxerri B Cave (northern Spain)

C. González-Sainz et al.

The discovery and first dates of the paintings in Grotte Chauvet provoked a new debate on the origin and characteristics of the first figurative Palaeolithic art. Since then, other art ensembles in France and Italy (Aldène, Fumane, Arcy-sur-Cure and Castanet) have enlarged our knowledge of graphic activity in the early Upper Palaeolithic. This paper presents a chronological assessment of the Palaeolithic parietal ensemble in Altxerri B (northern Spain). When the study began in 2011, one of our main objectives was to determine the age of this pictorial phase in the cave. Archaeological, geological and stylistic evidence, together with radiometric dates, suggest an Aurignacian chronology for this art. The ensemble in Altxerri B can therefore be added to the small but growing number of sites dated in this period, corroborating the hypothesis of more complex and varied figurative art than had been supposed in the early Upper Palaeolithic.


September 13, 2013

Chronology of Ksar Akil

PLoS ONE 8(9): e72931. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072931

Chronology of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) and Implications for the Colonization of Europe by Anatomically Modern Humans

Katerina Douka et al.

The Out-of-Africa model holds that anatomically modern humans (AMH) evolved and dispersed from Africa into Asia, and later Europe. Palaeoanthropological evidence from the Near East assumes great importance, but AMH remains from the region are extremely scarce. ‘Egbert’, a now-lost AMH fossil from the key site of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) and ‘Ethelruda’, a recently re-discovered fragmentary maxilla from the same site, are two rare examples where human fossils are directly linked with early Upper Palaeolithic archaeological assemblages. Here we radiocarbon date the contexts from which Egbert and Ethelruda were recovered, as well as the levels above and below the findspots. In the absence of well-preserved organic materials, we primarily used marine shell beads, often regarded as indicative of behavioural modernity. Bayesian modelling allows for the construction of a chronostratigraphic framework for Ksar Akil, which supports several conclusions. The model-generated age estimates place Egbert between 40.8–39.2 ka cal BP (68.2% prob.) and Ethelruda between 42.4–41.7 ka cal BP (68.2% prob.). This indicates that Egbert is of an age comparable to that of the oldest directly-dated European AMH (Peştera cu Oase). Ethelruda is older, but on current estimates not older than the modern human teeth from Cavallo in Italy. The dating of the so-called “transitional” or Initial Upper Palaeolithic layers of the site may indicate that the passage from the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic at Ksar Akil, and possibly in the wider northern Levant, occurred later than previously estimated, casting some doubts on the assumed singular role of the region as a locus for human dispersals into Europe. Finally, tentative interpretations of the fossil's taxonomy, combined with the chronometric dating of Ethelruda's context, provides evidence that the transitional/IUP industries of Europe and the Levant, or at least some of them, may be the result of early modern human migration(s).


September 12, 2013

Rivers across the Sahara

PLoS ONE 8(9): e74834. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074834

Were Rivers Flowing across the Sahara During the Last Interglacial? Implications for Human Migration through Africa

Tom J. Coulthard et al.

Human migration north through Africa is contentious. This paper uses a novel palaeohydrological and hydraulic modelling approach to test the hypothesis that under wetter climates c.100,000 years ago major river systems ran north across the Sahara to the Mediterranean, creating viable migration routes. We confirm that three of these now buried palaeo river systems could have been active at the key time of human migration across the Sahara. Unexpectedly, it is the most western of these three rivers, the Irharhar river, that represents the most likely route for human migration. The Irharhar river flows directly south to north, uniquely linking the mountain areas experiencing monsoon climates at these times to temperate Mediterranean environments where food and resources would have been abundant. The findings have major implications for our understanding of how humans migrated north through Africa, for the first time providing a quantitative perspective on the probabilities that these routes were viable for human habitation at these times.


Ancient mtDNA haplogroup M from Syria

This is quite an unexpected finding; there has been a paucity of ancient DNA from the Middle East, perhaps due to a combination of high temperature, less scientific development, and well-known recent problems in many parts of the region, and it would be great if additional research in the area is possible.

PLoS ONE 8(9): e73682. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073682

mtDNA from the Early Bronze Age to the Roman Period Suggests a Genetic Link between the Indian Subcontinent and Mesopotamian Cradle of Civilization

Henryk W. Witas et al.

Ancient DNA methodology was applied to analyse sequences extracted from freshly unearthed remains (teeth) of 4 individuals deeply deposited in slightly alkaline soil of the Tell Ashara (ancient Terqa) and Tell Masaikh (ancient Kar-Assurnasirpal) Syrian archaeological sites, both in the middle Euphrates valley. Dated to the period between 2.5 Kyrs BC and 0.5 Kyrs AD the studied individuals carried mtDNA haplotypes corresponding to the M4b1, M49 and/or M61 haplogroups, which are believed to have arisen in the area of the Indian subcontinent during the Upper Paleolithic and are absent in people living today in Syria. However, they are present in people inhabiting today’s Tibet, Himalayas, India and Pakistan. We anticipate that the analysed remains from Mesopotamia belonged to people with genetic affinity to the Indian subcontinent since the distribution of identified ancient haplotypes indicates solid link with populations from the region of South Asia-Tibet (Trans-Himalaya). They may have been descendants of migrants from much earlier times, spreading the clades of the macrohaplogroup M throughout Eurasia and founding regional Mesopotamian groups like that of Terqa or just merchants moving along trade routes passing near or through the region. None of the successfully identified nuclear alleles turned out to be ΔF508 CFTR, LCT-13910T or Δ32 CCR5.


ESHE 2013 abstracts

219 pages worth of abstracts from the upcoming meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (pdf).

I will post some excerpts:

Evolutionary History And Biological Diversity Of Homo Sapiens In Southeast Asia: Contour Shape Analysis Of Modern Human Upper Molars:

The evolutionary history and the pattern of biological diversity of modern humans in Southeast Asia has long been regarded as resulting of two major migrations waves. In this hypothesis it is generally considered that a first wave of migration (generally referred as “Australo-Melanesians”) reached Australia around 60000 BP while the second wave (often referred as “Mongoloids”) is correlated to a demic diffusion of the Neolithic from a Southeast China homeland which started around mid-Holocene. ... Our results also bring very interesting perspectives concerning the detection of the signature of a possible Denisovan admixture in the phenotype of modern human populations. Indeed, past and recent modern human groups which are hypothetically sharing Denisovan ancestry have closer phenetic affinities with each other than with other populations.

Podium Presentation: Session 9, Sa (14:20) A fine scale survey of the worldwide similarity between humans and archaic hominids and its implication on the proposed admixture scenario 
Since the publications of Green et al. 2010 and Reich et al. 2010, several investigations have followed suit addressing the question regarding anatomically modern human and archaic hominin admixture. The genetic analyses of the Neanderthal draft genome and the Denisova genome concluded that these archaic hominins made a 1-4% contribution to non-African populations and 4-6% contribution to Melanesian populations, respectively. The argument of whether the observed genetic similarity is consistent with admixture or ancient substructure is still under debate. While observations have been consistent with an admixture scenario of Neanderthals and the ancestors of non-Africans coming into contact 50 80 kya in the Middle East, the lack of power in these experiments falter in providing reliable results. Here we look at the relationship between AMH and these archaic hominins on a fine-scale level by using several methods (including revised D-statistic) on the Neanderthal draft genome, Denisova high-coverage genome, and a collection of published and unpublished genotype and sequence data. We use our findings to clarify the proposed admixture scenario as well as discuss new findings in newly analyzed comparisons of African, South Asian and American populations with archaic hominins, Neanderthal and Denisova. Our results shed light on understanding the observed genetic similarity within and between humans (African and non-African) and archaic hominins, particularly in relevance to the admixture versus ancient substructure scenarios. 

How modern are the earliest Homo sapiens? 
Previous research (reviewed in Trinkaus, 2005) has suggested that the African and western Asian contemporaries of Neandertals, generally considered to be the earliest Homo sapiens, are not particularly modern looking in their cranial anatomy. Here we test whether the dental morphological signal agrees with this assessment. We examined and recorded dental morphological variation in the earliest H. sapiens and asked: how modern are they dentally? We used a Bayesian statistical approach to classifying individuals into two possible groups based on dental non-metric traits. e classification was based on dental trait frequencies and sample sizes for two known samples of 120 Neandertals and 106 Upper Paleolithic H. sapiens individuals. A cross- validation test of these individuals resulted in a correct classification rate of 95%, which is even better than the results of a previous study using the same method based on fewer individuals (Bailey et al 2009). Our early H. sapiens sample included 41 individuals from Southern Africa (Die Kelders, Klasies River Mouth and Equus Cave), Northern Africa (Temara, El Harhoura, Dar es Soltan) and the Levant (Qafzeh, Skhul). We treated our early H. sapiens individuals as unknown and calculated the probability that each belonged to either the Upper Paleolithic or Neandertal sample. While understanding that technically these individuals did not belong to either group, we hypothesized that if the earliest H. sapiens were already dentally modern then, when forced into a group, they should fall into the Upper Paleolithic H. sapiens group. We also hypothesized that if there had been significant admixture in the Levant during the initial dispersal out of Africa - as has been sometimes proposed based on paleontological - and more recently on genetic - evidence (Green et al 2010) that these samples would have the largest proportion of individuals classified as Neandertal. Our results indicated that this was not the case. While a surprising number (27%) of early H. sapiens did classify as Neandertal, the smallest proportion of these came from the Levant (7% - one out of 14 individuals). The African sample was more of a mixed bag. None of the individuals from Die Kelders or Klaises River Mouth classified as Neandertal, while four out of five of the individuals from Equus Cave did. Moreover, 6 out of 13 (46%) of the Northern African individuals were classified as Neandertal. An inspection of the individual specimens that classified as Neandertals revealed that in most cases it is the predominance of primitive features, rather than derived Neandertal traits, that is driving the classification. We conclude (1) by the time the earliest H. sapiens dispersed from Africa they had already attained a more-or-less modern dental pattern; (2) in the past, as is the case today, Late Pleistocene Africans were not a homogeneous group, some retained primitive dental traits in higher proportions than others. Furthermore, we acknowledge that while our method is an excellent tool for discriminating between Upper Paleolithic H. sapiens and Neandertals, it may not be appropriate for testing Neandertal H. sapiens admixture because all traits (primitive and derived) are weighed equally. 

The potential for catastrophic impact of the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) tephra on human evolution: new data from the Lower Danube loess steppe:
Here we investigate an unexpectedly thick CI tephra deposit at Urluia in the southeast Romanian loess steppe, 1200 km from the super-eruption vent in Italy. Existing models suggest that the CI tephra thickness might reach a maximum 5-10 cm in Eastern Europe; the Urluia ash deposit is up to 100 cm thick. Additional, recently discovered Lower Danube sites also reveal substantially thicker than modelled CI ash beds. 
Radiocarbon dating the extinction of European Neanderthals

The transitional industries and their makers:
The demonstration of modern settlements pre-dating the earliest Aurignacian in Europe has important implications (Hublin 2012). It is consistent with a patchy pattern of modern colonization, with some significant chronological overlap between Neandertals and modern humans on a continental scale. In this model innovations observed in the Neandertal world around or after 50 ka cal BP may have resulted from cultural diffusion triggered by these influxes of populations into western Eurasia.
The Upper Paleolithic of the Ikh Tulberin Gol (Northern Mongolia): new excavations at the Tolbor 16 open-air site:
Numerous questions remain regarding the timing and the context of Upper Paleolithic emergence in Northeast Asia. Available data allow the recognition of a form of Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) (Brantingham et al, 2001) documented in the Altai circa 45-40 ka uncal BP (Goebel et al., 1993, Derevianko et al, 2000, Zwyns et al., 2012), in the Cis- and Transbaikal around 40 ka uncal BP (Lbova, 2008) ...
New data on the radiocarbon chronology of the Stretleskayan at Kostenki (Voronezh, Central Russia) :
It concerns cultural layer III at Kostenki 12 and cultural layer V at Kostenki I, respectively previously dated 36,280±360 and 34,900 ±350 BP in Groningen (Damblon et al., 1996). ... Remaining material of the charcoal sample from cultural layer III at Kostenki 12, previously dated 36,280 ±250 BP, was also submitted for dating to Oxford with ABOx-SC pretreatment. the results show that the two Groningen dates and the three Oxford dates are in good agreement and fit within a time interval of 1 millennium, but provide ages several millennia older than the ages obtained previously. Taking into account this new chronology, the appearance of the Stretleskayan at Kostenki will be compared with the chronological background of the Early Aurignacian, Szeletian and Bohunician occurrences in the MiddleDanube sequence, also based on ABA and ABOx-SC cross-dating (Haesaerts et al., 2013). 

Two Waves of Paleolithic Settlers Migrations to North West Beringia in Pleistocene End (End of Karginsky Interstadial) :
Way of 1st wave is marked by sites Afontova Gora V, Ust-Kova on Angara, than along Lena river up to Central Ykut plain, turn Aldan (Ikhine I etc), than round Kolyma plain to Chukotka, where they left abt 30 Ka Orlovka II site in North of West and Kymyneykey site in North of East Chukotka. In Aldan basin migration slowly down. Its reason could be glaciation of Verkhoyansk and Chersky ranges. During this delay “technical re-equipment” happened of migrations. Orlovka II and Kymyney artefacts are clear Aldan. 2nd wave migration was abt 29-28 Ka during final karginsky (middle: würm, wisconsin) warming, when paleoclimate along all northern outskirts of Asia was like to recent or more warm (Drozdov and Laukhin, 2010). Migrants of 2nd wave went to Yana mouth and left here site. Artifacts of this site don’t have Aldanian traditions, but are very close to Yeniseisk. There were little of favorable niches to North of South Mountain Belt; and their demographic capacity were nor big. 
Modern human dispersal into Eurasia: Preliminary results of the multi-disciplinary project on the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans (RNMH)
Both the chronometric dating and the geographic distribution of archaeological entities indicate that modern human populations equipped themselves with blade products based on the Levallois method, a technology that emerged in North Africa (Taramsan) around 60 ka and then dispersed into the Eastern Mediterranean Levant (Emiran) between 49 and 48 ka. Blade technology further expanded into Eastern and Central Europe (Bachokirian and Bohunician) between 48 and 45 ka and into Southern Siberia (Kara-Bom horizons 6 and 5) at around 47 ka. The rapid expansion of modern humans into Western and Eastern Eurasia followed by the demise of archaic populations in these regions may imply technological and cognitive advantages of modern humans. 

September 09, 2013

mtDNA from (non-frozen) >300 thousand year old cave bear from Sima de los Huesos

PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1314445110

Complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a Middle Pleistocene cave bear reconstructed from ultrashort DNA fragments

Jesse Dabney et al.


Although an inverse relationship is expected in ancient DNA samples between the number of surviving DNA fragments and their length, ancient DNA sequencing libraries are strikingly deficient in molecules shorter than 40 bp. We find that a loss of short molecules can occur during DNA extraction and present an improved silica-based extraction protocol that enables their efficient retrieval. In combination with single-stranded DNA library preparation, this method enabled us to reconstruct the mitochondrial genome sequence from a Middle Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus deningeri) bone excavated at Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate that the U. deningeri sequence forms an early diverging sister lineage to all Western European Late Pleistocene cave bears. Our results prove that authentic ancient DNA can be preserved for hundreds of thousand years outside of permafrost. Moreover, the techniques presented enable the retrieval of phylogenetically informative sequences from samples in which virtually all DNA is diminished to fragments shorter than 50 bp.


September 06, 2013

ASHG 2013 abstracts

Feel free to point me to more interesting abstracts than the ones I noticed during my "first pass".

Morphometric and ancient DNA study of human skeletal remanants in Indian Subcontinent.
N. Rai et al.
Recovery and sequencing of mtDNA from ancient human remnants is a daunting task but provides valuable information about human migrations and evolution. Our present study is the first to recover, amplify and sequence (HVR and coding regions of mtDNA) inadequately preserved and highly degraded (1.5 Ky to ≤1.0 Ky ago) hominids mitochondrial DNA of three most intriguing and indigenous ancient population of South and South-East Asia (Myanmar=20 Buried individuals, Nicobar Islands=15 and Andaman Island=6). Following all parameters and to avoid the chance of contamination we independently extracted and sequenced the DNA in two different labs and measured the cranial variability in all hominid skulls using 128 cranial landmarks, compiled 3D morphometrics, genetic data of ancient DNA samples and analyzed the admixture and genetic affinities of above three populations. Results showed the predominant frequency of F1a1 and complete absence of 9bp deletion in ancient Nicobarese. Unlike in previous reports on modern Nicobarese, the high frequency of F1a1 haplogroup in ancient Nicobarese show the probable migration of Nicobarese from South East Asia and the complete absence of 9bp deletion suggests the different events of settlement. This study failed to detect genetic affinities of Burmese with Nicolbarese even though their phenotype and language appears to be same. We first time report any kind of population study on Burmese populations and with the genetic affinity of Burmese with East Asian, East Indian (Including Gadhwal region of Himalaya) and Bangladeshi populations, we found significant admixture with West Eurasians. Our study strongly supports the West Eurasian and East Asian route of migration and settlement of early Burmese population. The three populations in the present study are quite different in their genetic structure but 3D morphometric study using huge number of landmarks explains a close homology among these populations and this can be explained by the role of climatic signature on these populations.
 Y chromosomes of ancient Hunnu people and its implication on the phylogeny of East Asian linguistic families. 
LL. Kang et al.
The Hunnu (Xiongnu) people, also called Huns in Europe, were the largest ethnic group to the north of Han Chinese until the 5th century. The ethno-linguistic affiliation of the Hunnu is controversial among Yeniseian, Altaic, Uralic, and Indo-European. Ancient DNA analyses on the remains of the Hunnu people had shown some clues to this problem. Y chromosome haplogroups of Hunnu remains included Q-M242, N-Tat, C-M130, and R1a1. Recently, we analyzed three samples of Hunnu from Barköl, Xinjiang, China, and determined Q-M3 haplogroup. Therefore, most Y chromosomes of the Hunnu samples examined by multiple studies are belonging to the Q haplogroup. Q-M3 is mostly found in Yeniseian and American Indian peoples, suggesting that Hunnu should be in the Yeniseian family. The Y chromosome diversity is well associated with linguistic families in East Asia. According to the similarity in the Y chromosome profiles, there are four pairs of congenetic families, i.e., Austronesian and Tai-Kadai, Mon-Khmer and Hmong-Mien, Sino-Tibetan and Uralic, Yeniseian and Palaesiberian. Between 4,000-2,000 years before present, Tai-Kadai, Hmong-Mien, Sino-Tibetan, and Yeniseian languages transformed into toned analytic languages, becoming quite different from the rest four. Since Hunnu was in the Yeniseian family, all these four toned families were distributed in the inland of China during the transformations. There must be some social or biological factors induced the transformations at that time, which is worth doing more linguistic and genetic researches.
Genomic scans for haplotypes of Denisova and Neanderthal ancestry in modern human populations.
F. L. Mendez, M. F. Hammer University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ., USA.
Evidence of archaic introgression into modern humans has accumulated in recent years. While most efforts to characterize the introgression process have relied on genome averages, only a small number of introgressive haplotypes have been shown to have an archaic origin after rejection of the alternative hypothesis of incomplete lineage sorting. Accurate identification of introgressive haplotypes is crucial both to characterize potentially functional consequences of archaic admixture and to quantify more precisely the genomic impact of archaic introgression. We perform two independent genomic scans for haplotypes of Denisova and of Neanderthal origin in a geographically diverse sample of complete genome sequences. These scans are based on the local sharing of polymorphisms and linkage disequilibrium, respectively. The analysis of concordance between the methods is then used to estimate the power and to compare demographic inference when performed using either all the data or just the genomic regions with no evidence of introgression. Moreover, we evaluate the extent to which Denisova haplotypes are observed in non-Melanesian populations, and investigate whether the presence of such haplotypes is better explained by their persistence in the population since introgression or by more recent gene flow from Melanesians.
Admixture Estimation in a Founder Population. 
Y. Banda1 et al.
Admixture between previously diverged populations yields patterns of genetic variation that can aid in understanding migrations and natural selection. An understanding of individual admixture (IA) is also important when conducting association studies in admixed populations. However, genetic drift, in combination with shallow allele frequency differences between ancestral populations, can make admixture estimation by the usual methods challenging. We have, therefore, developed a simple but robust method for ancestry estimation using a linear model to estimate allele frequencies in the admixed individual or sample as a function of ancestral allele frequencies. The model works well because it allows for random fluctuation in the observed allele frequencies from the expected frequencies based on the admixture estimation. We present results involving 3,366 Ashkenazi Jews (AJ) who are part of the Kaiser Permanente Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort and genotyped at 674,000 SNPs, and compare them to the results of identical analyses for 2,768 GERA African Americans (AA). For the analysis of the AJ, we included surrogate Middle Eastern, Italian, French, Russian, and Caucasus subgroups to represent the ancestral populations. For the African Americans, we used surrogate Africans and Northern Europeans as ancestors. For the AJ, we estimated mean ancestral proportions of 0.380, 0.305, 0.113, 0.041 and 0.148 for Middle Eastern, Italian, French, Russian and Caucasus ancestry, respectively. For the African Americans, we obtained estimated means of 0.745 and 0.248 for African and European ancestry, respectively. We also noted considerably less variation in the individual admixture proportions for the AJ (s.d. = .02 to .05) compared to the AA (s.d.= .15), consistent with an older age of admixture for the former. From the linear model regression analysis on the entire population, we also obtain estimates of goodness of fit by r2. For the analysis of AJ, the r2 was 0.977; for the analysis of the AA, the r2 was 0.994, suggesting that genetic drift has played a more prominent role in determining the AJ allele frequencies. This was confirmed by examination of the distribution of differences for the observed versus predicted allele frequencies. As compared to the African Americans, the AJ differences were significantly larger, and presented some outliers which may have been the target of selection (e.g. in the HLA region on chromosome 6p).
Admixture in the Pre-Columbian Caribbean. 
J. C. Martinez-Cruzado et al.
The biological origin of the Caribbean aborigines that greeted Columbus is one of the most controversial issues regarding the population history of this region. Genome studies suggest an Equatorial-Tucanoan origin, consistent with the Arawakan language spoken by most natives of the region. However, the archaeological evidence suggests an early arrival from Mesoamerica, and their admixture with the more recent Arawak-speaking group stemming from the Amazon remains a possibility. The lineages comprehending most Puerto Rican samples belonging to haplogroups B1 and C1, which in turn encompass 44% of all Native American mtDNAs in the island, have an unambiguous South American origin. However, none of those belonging to haplogroup A2, encompassing 52% of all Native American mtDNAs, have been related to South America or any other continental region. To augment the scarce data from Mesoamerican countries other than Mexico, we present the complete mtDNA sequence of 6 Honduran samples belonging to distinct control region lineages in addition to 3 from the Dominican Republic and 3 from Puerto Rico. Interestingly, maximum likelihood phylogenetic reconstruction including 40 published haplogroup A2 sequence haplotypes from Mesoamerica, Central America and South America clusters 8 out of 10 Mesoamerican and Andean haplotypes in a deep rooted group, separate from, and excluding all Costa Rican, Panamian and Brasilian haplotypes, suggesting a relatively recent origin for Chibchan-Paezan and Amazonian groups. Furthermore, 4 of the 5 Greater Antillean A2 haplotypes are included in the deeply rooted Mesoamerican-Andean cluster. Moreover, the only Cuban haplotype in the literature and the remaining A2 haplotype from the Dominican Republic form even more deeply rooted private branches. Similarly, the only haplogroup C1d sample sequenced from the Dominican Republic forms a private branch with the deepest root in a maximum likelihood tree containing 19 additional C1d haplotypes from Mexico to Brasil plus the CRS. In conclusion, our preliminary results suggest that a substantial proportion of the Native American mtDNA lineages from the Greater Antilles do not share an Amazonian origin with the language their people spoke in 1492. Furthermore, the position of two Dominican lineages at the earliest split in both their respective trees suggests an early origin that could be explained by extensive lineage extinctions in Mesoamerica and the Andes or an origin in North America.
 The possible role of social selection in the distribution of the "Proto-Mongolian" haplotype in Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Mongols and other Eurasian populations.
M. Zhabagin et al.
Social factors may be important contributors to reproductive success and determination of the selective survival of individuals. Therefore, social selection and other social factors are important for understanding population structure and its formation. The role of social selection on the distribution and formation of Y-chromosomal gene pool has been studied. There is a strong connection between social selection and birth rate of the descendants, whose fathers had achieved high social status during the expansion of the Mongol Empire and associated historical events. A total of 783 haplotypes, including 687 newly obtained and 96 retrieved from the literature were assigned to the haplogroup C3*-M217 (xM48) based on genotyping 17 Y-chromosomal STR markers. These haplotypes represent 11 populations of Eurasia: Kazakhs, Mongols, Kyrgyz, Telengits, Circassians, Balkar, Temirgoys, Karachai, Evenki, Kizhi and the Pashtuns. As the result, a major haplotype 13-16-25-15-16-18-14-10-22-11-10-11-13-10-21 (DYS389a-DYS389b-DYS390-DYS456-DYS19-DYS458-DYS437-DYS438-DYS448-GATA4-DYS391-DYS392-DYS393-DYS439-DYS635, N=94) was found to have 12.00% frequency within haplogroup C3*. This haplotype includes and extends the previously described “star-cluster” haplotype. Noteworthy, the frequency of this major haplotype within haplogroup C3* was 16.80% in Kazakhs, 10.13% in Mongols and 2.63% in Kirgiz who are not considered as direct descendants of Genghis Khan. 35.10% of the major haplotype was represented by Kazakh tribe Ashamayly-Kerey, 17.02% by the Khalkh Mongols and 7.44% by the Barguts. Therefore, we suppose this major ancestral haplotype to be the "proto-Mongolian haplotype", inherited by Genghis Khan and his descendants. It is important to mention that Temujin belongs to Kiyat-Borjigin tribe that in turn is a branch of the bigger Borjigin tribe, part of the Khalkh Mongols. Thus, Genghis Khan might be considered as a carrier rather than founder of the star-cluster haplotype. He and his descendants are the ones who contributed to a positive effect of social selection in the distribution of this haplotype. Other examples are the Barguts, who had Genghis Khan’s credit and were granted with a number of privileges, or the Kerey, based on the fact that Temujin had been brought up at the court of the Togrul Khan, belonging to the Kerey tribe.
Y-chromosomal variation in native South Americans: bright dots on a gray canvas.
M. Nothnagel et al.
While human populations in Europe and Asia have often been reported to reveal a concordance between their extant genetic structure and the prevailing regional pattern of geography and language, such evidence is lacking for native South Americans. In the largest study of South American natives to date, we examined the relationship between Y-chromosomal genotype on the one hand, and male geographic origin and linguistic affiliation on the other. We observed virtually no structure for the extant Y-chromosomal genetic variation of South American males that could sensibly be related to their inter-tribal geographic and linguistic relationships, augmented by locally confined Y-STR autocorrelation. Analysis of repeatedly taken random subsamples from Europe adhering to the same sampling scheme excluded the possibility that this finding was due to our specific scheme. Furthermore, for the first time, we identified a distinct geographical cluster of Y-SNP lineages C-M217 (C3*) in South America, which are virtually absent from North and Central America, but occur at high frequency in Asia. Our data suggest a late introduction of C3* into South America no more than 6,000 years ago and low levels of migration between the ancestor populations of C3* carrier and non-carriers. Our findings are consistent with a rapid peopling of the continent, followed by long periods of isolation in small groups, and highlight the fact that a pronounced correlation between genetic and geographic/cultural structure can only be expected under very specific conditions.
The timing and history of Neandertal gene flow into modern humans. 
S. Sankararaman et al.
   Previous analyses of modern human variation in conjunction with the Neandertal genome have revealed that Neandertals contributed 1-4% of the genes of non-Africans with the time of last gene flow dated to 37,000-86,000 years before present. Nevertheless, many aspects of the joint demographic history of modern humans and Neandertals are unclear. We present multiple analyses that reveal details of the early history of modern humans since their dispersal out of Africa.
   1.We analyze the difference between two allele frequency spectra in non-Africans: the spectrum conditioned on Neandertals carrying a derived allele while Denisovans carry the ancestral allele and the spectrum conditioned on Denisovans carrying a derived allele while Neandertals carry the ancestral allele. This difference spectrum allows us to study the drift since Neandertal gene flow under a simple model of neutral evolution in a panmictic population even when other details of the history before gene flow are unknown. Applying this procedure to the genotypes called in the 1000 Genomes Project data, we estimate the drift since admixture in Europeans of about 0.065 and about 0.105 in East Asians. These estimates are quite close to those in the European and East Asian populations since they diverged, implying that the Neandertal gene flow occurred close to the time of split of the ancestral populations. 
   2.Assuming only one Neandertal gene flow event in the common ancestry of Europeans and East Asians, we estimate the drift since gene flow in the common ancestral population. We show that an upper bound on this shared drift is 0.018. Because this is far less than the drift associated with the out-of-Africa bottleneck of all non-African populations, this shows that the Neandertal gene flow occurred after the out-of-Africa bottleneck. 
   3.We use the genetic drift shared between Europeans and East Asians, in conjunction with the observation of large regions deficient in Neandertal ancestry obtained from a map of Neandertal ancestry in Eurasians, to estimate the number of generations and effective population size in the period immediately after gene flow. These analyses suggest that only a few dozen Neandertals may have contributed to the majority of Neandertal ancestry in non-Africans today.
Genetic characterisation of two Greek population isolates. 
K. Hatzikotoulas et al.
   Genetic association studies of low-frequency and rare variants can be empowered by focusing on isolated populations. It is important to genetically characterize population isolates for substructure and recent admixture events as these may give rise to spurious associations. Under the auspices of the HELlenic Isolated Cohorts study (HELIC; we have collected >3,000 samples from two isolated populations in Greece: the Pomak villages (HELIC Pomak), a set of religiously-isolated mountainous villages in the North of Greece; and Anogia and surrounding mountainous villages on Crete (HELIC MANOLIS). All samples have information on anthropometric, cardiometabolic, biochemical, haematological and diet-related traits. 1,500 individuals from each population isolate have been typed on the Illumina OmniExpress and Human Exome Beadchip platforms. Multidimensional scaling analysis with the 1000 Genomes Project data shows similarities of the two population isolates with Mediterranean populations such as the Tuscans from Italy and Iberians from Spain. We also observe evidence for structure within the isolates, with the Kentavros village in the Pomak strand demonstrating high levels of differentiation. To characterise the degree of isolatedness in these populations we estimated the proportion of individuals with at least one “surrogate parent” (using only the subset of samples with pairwise pi-hat<0 .2="" 707="" adolescents="" an="" and="" at="" attica="" compared="" comprises="" district.="" find="" for="" from="" genome="" greek="" in="" individuals="" is="" isolate="" least="" manolis="" of="" one="" outbred="" parent="" population="" proportion="" random="" regions="" study="" surrogate="" teenage="" that="" the="" this="" to="" unrelated="" we="" which="" with="">60% and in the Pomak isolate is >65% compared to ~1% in the outbred Greek population. Our results establish these populations as isolates and provide some insights into the genomic architecture of Greek populations, which have not been previously characterised.
Efficient and Accurate Whole-Genome Human Phasing.
T. Blauwkamp et al.
   High throughput DNA sequencing allows whole human genomes to be resequenced rapidly and inexpensively producing a comprehensive list of variants relative to the reference genome. However, short read sequencing technologies are limited in their ability to determine phasing information, thus resulting in heterozygous calls being represented as the average of the maternal and paternal chromosomes. Phasing information is of critical importance to personal medicine as it provides a better linkage between genotype and phenotype, permitting new advances in our understanding of compound heterozygote linked diseases, pharmacogenomics, HLA typing, and prenatal genome sequencing. Here, we describe a new sample prep method that enables whole human genome haplotyping at high accuracy using only 30Gb of sequence data. Genomic DNA was fragmented into ~10Kb fragments, end repaired, and ligated to adapters. Hundreds of aliquots with approximately 50MB of DNA in each were amplified, fragmented and converted into individual shotgun libraries. The pooled libraries were sequenced in a single lane of a HiSeq2500 at 2x100bp to generate ~30Gb of sequence. The resulting sequence information was analyzed to obtain a set of long blocks of ~10Kb, covering multiple heterozygous SNPs, allowing phasing of these SNPs relative to each other. An HMM-based phasing algorithm was used to compute the most likely phase and confidence intervals based on the observed coverage and sequencer quality scores. Phasing of those blocks relative to each other was done by another HMM-based algorithm which uses a panel of previously phased genomes. Comparing our results with phase information inferred by transmission from the parents, we found that over 98% of heterozygous SNPs were phased within long blocks (N50=500kb) at a switch error rate below 1 switch per megabase of phased sequence. We present results obtained from multiple cell lines and human samples. This new library prep method and data analysis pipeline enables whole human genome phasing with only 30Gb of raw sequence, which represents only ~30% more sequencing than current 30x baseline run for human sequencing. Compared to other published reports, this method is capable of phasing a greater fraction of SNPS with ~75% less sequencing. Coupling our higher percentage of SNPs phased with high accuracy and the lowest sequencing requirement, this new technology is the most affordable approach to generating completely phased whole human genomes.
 Inference of Natural Selection and Demographic History for African Pygmy Hunter-Gatherers.
P. H. Hsieh et al.
   African Pygmies are hunter-gatherers primarily inhabiting the Central African rainforests, where they are exposed to high temperatures, high humidity, and a pathogen and parasite-enriched woody habitat. These factors undoubtedly influenced their evolutionary history as they adapted to this environment. Many Pygmy populations have historically been in socio-economic contact with neighboring Niger-Kordofanian speaking farmer populations, particularly since the agriculture expansion in sub-Saharan Africa that began five thousand years ago (kya). To look for the true signatures of adaptation to the rainforest habitat of pygmies we must control for this complex demographic history. We sequenced and combined 40x whole genome sequence data from 3 Baka pygmies from Cameroon, 4 Biaka pygmies from the Central African Republic, and 9 Niger-Kordofanian speaking Yoruba farmers from Nigeria. We used ?a?i, a model-based demographic inference tool, to infer the history of these populations. Our best-fit model suggests that the ancestors of the farmer and pygmy populations diverged 150 kya and remained isolated from each other until 40 kya. This divergence is more ancient than estimated by previous studies that included fewer loci, but is consistent with a PSMC analysis, a separate inference tool that uses different aspects of the genomic data than ?a?i. Interestingly, our analysis shows that models with bi-directional asymmetric gene flow between farmers and pygmies are statistically better supported than previously suggested models with a single wave of uni-directional migration from farmers to pygmies. To identify possible targets of positive selection, we conducted a genomic scan using complementary methods, including the frequency-spectrum based G2D test, the population differentiation based XP-CLR test, and the haplotype based iHS test. We performed 10,000 simulations based on the above best-fit demographic model in order to assign statistical significance to each reported target of natural selection. Our results reveal that genes involved in cell adhesion, cellular signaling, olfactory perception, and immunity were likely targeted by natural selection in the pygmies or their recent ancestors. Our analysis also shows that genes involved in the function of lipid binding are enriched in highly differentiated non-synonymous mutations, suggesting that this function may have acted differently on the Pygmies and farmers after their divergence from their common ancestor.
Population demography and maternal history of Oceania.
A. T. Duggan et al.
   We present a large-scale study of mtDNA diversity across Near and Remote Oceania with whole-genome mtDNA sequencing and a sample collection of more than 1,300 individuals spanning from the Bismarck Archipelago in the west to the Cook Islands in the east. As the location of at least two major migration events (initial colonization over 40,000 years ago, followed by an expansion of Austronesian-speaking migrants around 3,500 years ago), Oceania provides a unique opportunity to study the effects of population admixture. Our results support the idea of sex-biased admixture between the resident populations and the migrants of the Austronesian expansion. We find that haplogroups of putative Asian origin which are thought to have spread with the Austronesian expansion are found at high frequency in all but two populations and, in general, we see little evidence of distinction between Papuan and Austronesian speaking populations. Santa Cruz, which is part of the Solomon Islands but geographically distinct from the main island chain and considered part of Remote Oceania, has long been considered a linguistic oddity and is now accepted to represent a very deep branch in the Oceanic language family. We find that it is also a genetic outlier, with potential direct connections to the Bismarck Archipelago not evident in the main Solomon Islands chain. In this expanded dataset, we find additional evidence of instability and increased heteroplasmy at the ‘Polynesian motif’ position 16247, further confirming previous findings restricted to the Solomon Islands. 

 Reconstructing Austronesian population history. 
M. Lipson et al.
   Present-day populations that speak Austronesian languages are spread across half the globe, from Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean to Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Evidence from linguistics and archaeology suggests that the "Austronesian expansion," a vast cultural and linguistic dispersal that began 4--5 thousand years ago, had its origin in Taiwan. However, genetic studies of Austronesian ancestry have been inconclusive, with some finding affinities with aboriginal Taiwanese, others advancing an autochthonous origin within Island Southeast Asia, and others proposing a model involving multiple waves of migration from Asia. Here, we analyze genome-wide data from a diverse set of 31 Austronesian-speaking and 25 other groups typed at 18,412 overlapping single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to trace the genetic origins of Austronesians. We use a recently developed computational tool for building phylogenetic models of population relationships incorporating the possibility of admixture, which allows us to infer ancestry proportions and sources of genetic material for 26 admixed Austronesian-speaking populations. Our analysis provides strong confirmation of widespread ancestry of Taiwanese origin: at least a quarter of the genetic material in all Austronesian-speaking populations that we studied---including all of the Asian ancestry in populations from eastern Indonesia and Oceania---is more closely related to aboriginal Taiwanese than to any populations we sampled from the mainland. Surprisingly, we also show that western Austronesian-speaking populations have inherited substantial proportions of their Asian ancestry from a source that falls within the variation of present-day Austro-Asiatic populations in Southeast Asia. No Austro-Asiatic languages are spoken in Island Southeast Asia today, although there are some linguistic and archaeological suggestions of an early connection between mainland and island populations. The most plausible explanation for these findings, in light of the historical evidence, is that western Island Southeast Asia was settled by Austronesian groups who had previously mixed with Austro-Asiatic speakers on the mainland.
 No significant differences in the accumulation of deleterious mutations across diverse human populations. 
R. Do et al.
   Differences in demographic history across populations are expected to cause differences in the accumulation of deleterious mutations because natural selection works less efficiently when population sizes are small. Surprisingly, however, the relative burden of deleterious mutations has never been directly measured across human populations on a per-haploid genome basis, despite the fact that this is what matters biologically in the absence of dominance and epistasis. Here we empirically measure the relative accumulation of deleterious mutations in 13 diverse populations (Yoruba, Mandenka, San, Mbuti, Dinka, Australian, French, Sardinian, Han, Dai, Mixe, Karitiana and Papuan) along with one archaic population (Denisova). All the present-day populations have statistically indistinguishable accumulations of coding mutations. We highlight two examples. First, we find no evidence for a lower mutational load in West Africans than in Europeans despite the approximately 30% higher genetic diversity in West Africans: the accumulation of nonsynonymous mutations in West Africans is 1.01±0.02 times that in Europeans, and for “probably damaging” mutations, the ratio is 1.03±0.04. Second, we find no evidence for a lower mutational load in populations that have experienced agriculture-related expansions over the last 10,000 years and those that have not: the ratio in Chinese to Karitiana hunter gatherers from Brazil is 0.99±0.07. We determined that these null results are not an artifact of insensitivity of our method to differences in demographic history. As a positive control, we also analyzed archaic Denisovans who are known to have had a small population size for hundreds of thousands of years since separation from modern humans. We show that the Denisovan lineage has accumulated “probably damaging” mutations 1.33±0.06 times more rapidly than modern humans since they split. These analyses are important because of the new constraints they place on the distribution of selection coefficients in humans. Given the currently estimated demographic histories of West Africans and Europeans, combined with the fact that we do not detect a lower accumulation of deleterious mutations in West Africans than Europeans, we can conclude that only a small proportion of nonsynonymous mutations have selection coefficients in the range s=-0.01 to -0.001, which is the range of selection coefficients which would be expected to show a lower accumulation in West Africans than in Africans.
Deep coverage Bedouin genomes reveal Bedouin haplotypes shared among worldwide populations in the 1000 Genomes Project. 
J. L. Rodriguez-Flores et al.
   The 1000 Genomes Project (1000G) has sampled and sequenced over 2500 genomes that are representative of the genetic diversity in populations worldwide. The Arabian Peninsula has not been previously included in 1000G, hence the connections between genetic variation in the indigenous Bedouin people and worldwide populations is unknown. We have sampled genomes from Bedouin individuals in the nation of Qatar as a window into the genetic variation in this understudied region. Our goal was to use this sample to assess the hypothesis that there is detectable shared ancestry between Bedouin and Southern European populations resulting from the history of empires that spanned both the Mediterranean and Arabian regions and the hypothesis that there is shared ancestry between Bedouin and contemporary Latin American populations, since the majority of European settlers in Latin America from the past half millennia are primarily from Southern European countries. We selected 60 Qataris with over 95% Bedouin ancestry and at least 3 generations of ancestry in Qatar for deep coverage genome sequencing. Genomes were sequenced by the Illumina Genome Network using TruSeq DNA PCR-free sample preparation, generating over 120 gigabases of paired-end 100 base pair reads per genome on a HiSeq 2500, yielding over 30x depth and genotypes for >96% of the genome using both the ELAND/CASAVA and BWA/GATK pipelines. Using these genotypes, we inferred haplotypes using SHAPEIT for Bedouin Qataris and for 1000G populations on a set of sites polymorphic in both 1000G and Bedouins. We used admixture analysis to assess shared ancestry between our Bedouin sample and 1000G populations using the ancestry deconvolution method SUPPORTMIX. Given the lack of appropriate ancestral populations, we conducted a leave-one-out approach, where for each population (1000G + Bedouin = n), we removed the population and used the remaining n-1 populations as an ancestral reference panel. Using this approach, we observed up to 15% Bedouin ancestry in European, South Asian, and American populations. Likewise, we observed ancestry from Europe, South Asia, and America in the Bedouin. For individuals from the Americas, the analysis identified a considerable number of segments shared with Bedouins previously classified as European ancestry. 
Using a haplotype-based model to infer Native American colonization history.
C. Lewis et al.
   We apply a powerful haplotype-based model (described in Lawson et al. 2012) to infer the population history of 410 individuals from ~50 Native American groups, using data interrogated at >470,000 genome-wide autosomal Single-Nucleotide-Polymorphisms (SNPs). The model matches haplotype patterns among individuals' chromosomes to infer which individuals share recent common ancestry at each location of the genome, an approach that has previously been demonstrated to increase power substantially over widely-used alternative approaches that consider SNPs independently. We apply this methodology to 1861 samples described in Reich et al. (2012), incorporating 263 additional samples from 32 relevant world-wide regions collated from other publicly available resources and currently unavailable data. We utilize these methodology and data in two ways. First, we infer intermixing (i.e. "admixture") events among different Native American groups by identifying the groups that share the most haplotype segments. Using additional unpublished techniques, we determine the dates of these intermixing events, the proportions of DNA contributed, and the precise genetic make-up of the groups involved. These unique characteristics set this methodology apart from all presently available software, allowing us to place these mixing events into a clear historical context and thus identify the factors (e.g. the rise or fall of various Native American empires) that have contributed most to the genetic architecture of present-day Native American groups. Second, we match DNA patterns from each Native American group to a set of over 30 populations from Siberia and East Asia, describing each Native American group as a mixture of DNA from these regions. This enables us to shed light on the widely debated number of distinct migrations into the Americas during the initial colonization across the Bering Strait, comparing our results to previous inference from the literature. Our application demonstrates the power gained by using rich haplotype information relative to approaches that ignore this information.
Using Ancient Genomes to Detect Positive Selection on the Human Lineage. 
K. Prüfer et al.
   At least two distinct groups of archaic hominins inhabited Eurasia before the arrival of modern humans: Neandertals and Denisovans. The analysis of the genomes of these archaic humans revealed that they are more closely related to one another than they are to modern humans. However, since modern and archaic humans are so closely related, only about 10% of the archaic DNA sequences fall outside the present-day human variation whereas for 90% of the genome, Neandertal or Denisova DNA sequences are more closely related to some humans than to others. The fact that the archaic sequence often falls within the diversity of modern humans can be used to detect selective sweeps that affected all modern humans after their split from archaic humans since such sweeps will result in genomic regions where both the Neandertal and Denisova genomes fall outside the modern human variation. The genetic lengths of such external regions are proportional to the strength of selection, since stronger selection will lead to faster sweeps allowing less time for recombination to decrease their size. We have implemented a test for such external regions as a hidden Markov model. At each polymorphic position the model emits ancestral or derived based on whether the tested archaic genome carries the ancestral or derived variant of SNPs observed in present-day humans. The model was applied to 185 African genomes from the 1000 genomes phase 1 data. We identified thousands of external regions using the Neandertal and Denisova genomes, separately. Approximately one third of the regions are overlapping between the two genomes. These regions are significantly longer than regions only identified in only one of the archaic genomes. Based on this excess of overlap for long regions, we devise a measure to identify a set of regions that are candidates for selective sweeps on the human lineage since the split from Neandertal and Denisova.
Pulling out the 1%: Whole-Genome In-Solution (WISC) capture for the targeted enrichment of ancient DNA sequencing libraries. 
C. D. Bustamante et al.
   The very low levels of endogenous DNA remaining in most ancient specimens has precluded the shotgun sequencing of many interesting samples due to cost. For example, ancient DNA (aDNA) libraries derived from bones and teeth often contain <1 b="" by="" capacity="" dna.="" dna="" endogenous="" environmental="" is="" majority="" meaning="" of="" sequencing="" taken="" that="" the="" up=""> We will present a method for the targeted enrichment of the endogenous component of human aDNA sequencing libraries. Using biotinylated RNA baits transcribed from genomic DNA libraries, we are able to significantly enrich for human-derived DNA fragments. This approach, which we call whole-genome in-solution capture (WISC), allows us to obtain genome-wide ancestral information from ancient samples with very low endogenous DNA contents. We demonstrate WISC on libraries created from four Iron Age and Bronze Age human teeth from Bulgaria, as well as bone samples from seven Peruvian mummies and a Bronze Age hair sample from Denmark. Prior to capture, shotgun sequencing of these libraries yielded an average of 1.2% of reads mapping to the human genome (including duplicates). After capture, this fraction increased dramatically, with up to 59% of reads mapped to human and folds enrichment ranging from 5X to 139X. Furthermore, we maintained coverage of the majority of fragments present in the pre-capture library. Intersection with the 1000 Genomes Project reference panel yielded an average of 50,723 SNPs (range 3,062-147,243) for the post-capture libraries sequenced with 1 million reads, compared with 13,280 SNPs (range 217-73,266) for the pre-capture libraries, increasing resolution in population genetic analyses. We will also present the results of performing WISC on other aDNA libraries from both archaic human and non-human samples, including ancient domestic dog samples. Our capture approach is flexible and cost-effective, allowing researchers to access aDNA from many specimens that were previously unsuitable for sequencing. Furthermore, this method has applications in other contexts, such as the enrichment of target human DNA in forensic samples.
Insights into population history from a high coverage Neandertal genome. 
D. Reich1, for.the. Neandertal Genome Consortium2 
   We have sequenced to about 50-fold coverage a genome sequence from about 40 mg of a bone found in Denisova Cave in Southern Siberia. The genome of this female is much more closely related to the low-coverage Neandertal genomes from Croatia, Spain, Germany and the Caucasus than to the genome of archaic Denisovans, a sister group of Neandertals, and provides unambiguous evidence that both Neandertals and Denisovans inhabited the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The high-coverage Neandertal genome, combined with our earlier sequencing of a high quality Denisova genome, allows novel insights about the population history of archaic humans:
    •We document recent inbreeding in this Altai Neandertal. The inbreeding coefficient of about 1/8 corresponds to about the homozygosity that would be expected from a mating of half siblings. 
    •The Altai Neandertal genome shares almost seven percent more derived alleles with present-day Africans than does the Denisova genome. This means that the Denisovans derived a proportion of their ancestry from a very archaic human lineage, and the amount of this ancestry they inherit is larger than in Neandertals. 
    • The Denisovan genome is affected by major recent gene flow from an Altai-related Neandertal. 
    • To further characterize the variation among Neandertals we sequenced the genome of a Neandertal from the Caucasus to about 0.5-fold coverage. Comparisons to present-day genomes show that the Neandertals who contributed genes to present-day non-Africans were more closely related to this Caucasian Neandertal than to the Neandertals we sequenced from the Altai. 
    •We built a map of Neandertal ancestry in modern humans, using data from all non-Africans in the 1000 Genomes Project. We show that the average Neandertal ancestry on chromosome X of present-day non-Africans is about a fifth of the genome average. It is known that hybrid incompatibility loci concentrate on chromosome X. Thus, this observation is consistent with a model of hybrid incompatibility in which Neandertal variants that introgressed into modern humans were rapidly selected away due to epistatic interactions with the modern human genetic background.
Inferring complex demographies from PSMC coalescent rate estimates: African substructure and the Out-of-Africa event.
S. Gopalakrishnan et al.
   Human population history is an intriguing and complex story with many events like population growth, bottlenecks, time-dependent/non-homogeneous migration, population splits and mixtures. Estimating complete demographies with population sizes, rates of gene flow and population split times has proven to be a challenging endeavor. We propose a framework for jointly estimating the demography parameters, especially gene-flow rates and split times, for a large number of populations. We use coalescent rate estimates obtained from Pairwise Sequentially Markovian Coalescent (PSMC) as the starting point for our analysis. Since PSMC works on only two chromosomes at a time, we apply PSMC to all pairs of individuals to obtain the pairwise coalescent rates for lineages from every pair of sampled populations. Using a mathematical model for calculating coalescent probabilites given population parameters, we estimate demography using the parameters that best fit the observed coalesecent rates.
   In this study, we focus on two aspects of African population genetics, 1. the nature of population structure in Africa going back in time and 2. the timing of the Out-of-Africa event. To address these questions, we assembled a dataset with whole genome sequences from 162 individuals using both in-house sequencing and publicly available sources. These samples span 22 populations worldwide. These include eleven African populations which we use to dissect the population substructure in Africa. In addition, we also have 2 Middle Eastern, 5 European and 4 East/Central Asian populations which inform the population split time estimates for the Out-of-Africa event and the European-Asian split.
   We find extensive population structure in Africa extending back to before the Out-of-Africa event. The Ethiopian populations, Amhara and Oromo, show evidence of mixing beyond 15 kya. The Maasai and Luhye merge with the Ethiopian populations to form a panmictic East African population ~40kya. We find evidence for extensive mixing between east and west African populations before 50kya. Among the pygmy populations, we see recent gene flow between the Batwa and Mbuti. All African populations except the San merge into a single population around 110 kya. The San exchange migrants with the other African populations beginning ~120 kya. We estimate the Out-of-Africa event to have occurred ~75kya and the European-Asian split to ~25kya.
Out of Africa, which way? 
L. Pagani et al.
While the African origin of all modern human populations is well-established, the dynamics of the diaspora that led anatomically modern humans to colonize the lands outside Africa are still under debate. Understanding the demographic parameters as well as the route (or routes) followed by the ancestors of all non-Africans could help to refine our understanding of the selection processes that occurred subsequently, as well as shedding light on a landmark process in our evolutionary history. Of the three possible gateways out of Africa (via Morocco across the Gibraltar strait, via Egypt through the Suez isthmus or via the Horn of Africa across Bab el Mandeb strait) only the latter two are supported by paleoclimatic and archaeological evidence. Furthermore, recent studies (Pagani et al. 2012) showed that, although the modern Ethiopian populations might be good candidates for the descendants of the source population of such a migration, modern Egyptians could be an even better candidate. Unfortunately, however, only a few Egyptian samples have been genotyped and, as yet, none have been fully sequenced. Here, we have generated 125 Ethiopian and 100 Egyptian whole genome sequences (Illumina HiSeq, 8x average depth). The genomes were partitioned using PCAdmix (Brisbin et al. 2012) to account for the confounding effects of recent introgression from neighboring non-African populations. To explore the genetic legacy of migration routes out of Africa, and in particular to test whether the observed genetic data support one route over another, the African components of Egyptians and Ethiopians were then compared to a panel of available non-African populations from the 1000 Genomes Project (1000 Genomes Project Consortium, 2012). The high resolution provided by whole genome sequencing allows us to shed new light on the paths followed by our ancestors as they left Africa, as well as refining the current knowledge of the demographic history of the populations analyzed.
The Saudi Arabian Genome Reveals a Two Step Out-of-Africa Migration. 
J. J. Farrell et al.
   Here we present the first high-coverage whole genome sequences from a Middle Eastern population consisting of 14 Eastern Province Saudi Arabians. Genomes from this region are of interest to further answer questions regarding “Out-of-Africa” human migration. Applying a pairwise sequentially Markovian coalescent model (PSMC), we inferred the history of population sizes between 10,000 years and 1,000,000 years before present (YBP) for the Saudi genomes and an additional 11 high-coverage whole genome sequences from Africa, Asia and Europe.
   The model estimated the initial separation from Africans at approximately 110,000 YBP. This intermediate population then underwent a long period of decreasing population size culminating in a bottleneck 50,000 YBP followed by an expansion into Asia and Europe. The split and subsequent bottleneck were thus two distinct events separated by a long intermediate period of genetic drift in the Middle East. The two most frequent mitochondria haplogroups (30% each) were the Middle Eastern U7a and the African L. The presence of the L haplogroup common in Africa was unexpected given the clustering of the Saudis with Europeans in the phylogenetic tree and suggests some recent African admixture. To examine this further, we performed formal tests for a history of admixture and found no evidence of African admixture in the Saudi after the split. Taken together, these analyses suggest that the L3 haplogroup found in the Saudi were present before the bottleneck 50,000 YBP. Given the TMRCA estimates for the L3 haplogroup of approximately 70,000 YBP and the timing of the Out-of-Africa split, these analyses suggest that L3 haplogroup arose in the Middle East with a subsequent back migration and expansion into Africa over the Horn-of-Africa during the lower sea levels found during the glacial period bottleneck.
    These results are consistent with the hypothesis that modern humans populated the Middle East before a split 110,000 YBP, underwent genetic drift for 60,000 years before expanding to Asia and Europe as well as back-migration into Africa. Examination of genetic variants discovered by Saudi whole genome sequencing in ancestral African populations and European/Asian populations will contribute to the understanding human migration patterns and the origin of genetic variation in modern humans.
 Geographic Population Structure (GPS) of worldwide human populations infers biogeographical origin down to home village
E. Elhaik et al.
The search for a method that utilizes biological information to predict human’s place of origin has occupied scientists for millennia. Modern biogeography methods are accurate to 700 km in Europe but are highly inaccurate elsewhere, particularly in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The accuracy of these methods is bound by the choice of genotyping arrays, the size and quality of the reference dataset, and principal component (PC)-based algorithms. To overcome the first two obstacles, we designed GenoChip, a dedicated genotyping array for genetic anthropology with an unprecedented number of ~12,000 Y-chromosomal and ~3,300 mtDNA SNPs and over 130,000 autosomal and X-chromosomal SNPs carefully chosen to study ancestry without any known health, medical, or phenotypic relevance. We also 615 individuals from 54 worldwide populations collected as part of the Genographic Project and the 1000 Genomes Project. To overcome the last impediment, we developed an admixture-based Geographic Population Structure (GPS) method that infers the biogeography of worldwide individuals down to their village of origin. GPS’s accuracy was demonstrated on three data sets: worldwide populations, Southeast Asians and Oceanians, and Sardinians (Italy) using 40,000-130,000 GenoChip markers. GPS correctly placed 80%; of worldwide individuals within their country of origin with an accuracy of 87%; for Asians and Oceanians. Applied to over 200 Sardinians villagers of both sexes, GPS placed a quarter of them within their villages and most of the remaining within 50 km of their villages, allowing us to identify the demographic processes that shaped the Sardinian society. These findings are significantly more accurate than PCA-based approaches. We further demonstrate two GPS applications in tracing the poorly understood biogeographical origin of the Druze and North American (CEU) populations. Our findings demonstrate the potential of the GenoChip array for genetic anthropology. Moreover, the accuracy and power of GPS underscore the promise of admixture-based methods to biogeography and has important ramifications for genetic ancestry testing, forensic and medical sciences, and genetic privacy.