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Interesting new PLoS Paper (FREE)

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  • Interesting new PLoS Paper (FREE)

    Author SummaryHumans like to tell stories. Amongst the most captivating is the story of the global spread of modern humans from their original homeland in Africa. Traditionally this has been the preserve of anthropologists, but geneticists are starting to make an important contribution. However, genetic evidence is typically analyzed in the context of anthropological preconceptions. For genetics to provide an accurate and detailed history without reference to anthropology, methods are required that translate DNA sequence data into histories. We introduce a statistical method that has three virtues. First, it is based on a copying model that incorporates the block-by-block inheritance of DNA from one generation to the next. This allows it to capture the rich information provided by patterns of DNA sharing across the whole genome. Second, its parameter space includes an enormous number of possible colonization scenarios, meaning that inferences are correspondingly rich in detail. Third, the inferred colonization scenario is determined algorithmically. We have applied this method to data from 53 human populations and find that while the current consensus is broadly supported, some populations have surprising histories. This scenario can be viewed as a movie, making it transparent where statistical analysis ends and where interpretation begins.


    Inferring Human Colonization History Using a Copying Model

    Genome-wide scans of genetic variation can potentially provide detailed information on how modern humans colonized the world but require new methods of analysis. We introduce a statistical approach that uses Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) data to identify sharing of chromosomal segments between populations and uses the pattern of sharing to reconstruct a detailed colonization scenario. We apply our model to the SNP data for the 53 populations of the Human Genome Diversity Project described in Conrad et al. (Nature Genetics 38,1251-60, 2006). Our results are consistent with the consensus view of a single

  • #2
    continued

    Our results are consistent with the consensus view of a single

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    • #3
      I can't post for some reason. Go read the paper

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