June 07, 2016

Ancient DNA and human history

A very useful review of the field c. mid-2016. The only major addition would be the study on Upper Paleolithic Europeans that appeared recently.

The lack of East Asian DNA validates my New Year's wish for some. Hopefully my wish will be granted in the second half of 2016.

PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1524306113

Ancient DNA and human history

Montgomery Slatkin, and Fernando Racimo

We review studies of genomic data obtained by sequencing hominin fossils with particular emphasis on the unique information that ancient DNA (aDNA) can provide about the demographic history of humans and our closest relatives. We concentrate on nuclear genomic sequences that have been published in the past few years. In many cases, particularly in the Arctic, the Americas, and Europe, aDNA has revealed historical demographic patterns in a way that could not be resolved by analyzing present-day genomes alone. Ancient DNA from archaic hominins has revealed a rich history of admixture between early modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans, and has allowed us to disentangle complex selective processes. Information from aDNA studies is nowhere near saturation, and we believe that future aDNA sequences will continue to change our understanding of hominin history.


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