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1.  Wide distribution and altitude correlation of an archaic high-altitude-adaptive EPAS1 haplotype in the Himalayas 
Human Genetics  2016;135:393-402.
High-altitude adaptation in Tibetans is influenced by introgression of a 32.7-kb haplotype from the Denisovans, an extinct branch of archaic humans, lying within the endothelial PAS domain protein 1 (EPAS1), and has also been reported in Sherpa. We genotyped 19 variants in this genomic region in 1507 Eurasian individuals, including 1188 from Bhutan and Nepal residing at altitudes between 86 and 4550 m above sea level. Derived alleles for five SNPs characterizing the core Denisovan haplotype (AGGAA) were present at high frequency not only in Tibetans and Sherpa, but also among many populations from the Himalayas, showing a significant correlation with altitude (Spearman’s correlation coefficient = 0.75, p value 3.9 × 10−11). Seven East- and South-Asian 1000 Genomes Project individuals shared the Denisovan haplotype extending beyond the 32-kb region, enabling us to refine the haplotype structure and identify a candidate regulatory variant (rs370299814) that might be interacting in an additive manner with the derived G allele of rs150877473, the variant previously associated with high-altitude adaptation in Tibetans. Denisovan-derived alleles were also observed at frequencies of 3–14 % in the 1000 Genomes Project African samples. The closest African haplotype is, however, separated from the Asian high-altitude haplotype by 22 mutations whereas only three mutations, including rs150877473, separate the Asians from the Denisovan, consistent with distant shared ancestry for African and Asian haplotypes and Denisovan adaptive introgression.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-016-1641-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00439-016-1641-2
PMCID: PMC4796332  PMID: 26883865
2.  Unravelling the distinct strains of Tharu ancestry 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;22(12):1404-1412.
The northern region of the Indian subcontinent is a vast landscape interlaced by diverse ecologies, for example, the Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas. A great number of ethnic groups are found there, displaying a multitude of languages and cultures. The Tharu is one of the largest and most linguistically diverse of such groups, scattered across the Tarai region of Nepal and bordering Indian states. Their origins are uncertain. Hypotheses have been advanced postulating shared ancestry with Austroasiatic, or Tibeto-Burman-speaking populations as well as aboriginal roots in the Tarai. Several Tharu groups speak a variety of Indo-Aryan languages, but have traditionally been described by ethnographers as representing East Asian phenotype. Their ancestry and intra-population diversity has previously been tested only for haploid (mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome) markers in a small portion of the population. This study presents the first systematic genetic survey of the Tharu from both Nepal and two Indian states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, using genome-wide SNPs and haploid markers. We show that the Tharu have dual genetic ancestry as up to one-half of their gene pool is of East Asian origin. Within the South Asian proportion of the Tharu genetic ancestry, we see vestiges of their common origin in the north of the South Asian Subcontinent manifested by mitochondrial DNA haplogroup M43.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.36
PMCID: PMC4231405  PMID: 24667789
3.  Global diversity, population stratification, and selection of human copy number variation 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2015;349(6253):aab3761.
In order to explore the diversity and selective signatures of duplication and deletion human copy number variants (CNVs), we sequenced 236 individuals from 125 distinct human populations. We observed that duplications exhibit fundamentally different population genetic and selective signatures than deletions and are more likely to be stratified between human populations. Through reconstruction of the ancestral human genome, we identify megabases of DNA lost in different human lineages and pinpoint large duplications that introgressed from the extinct Denisova lineage now found at high frequency exclusively in Oceanic populations. We find that the proportion of CNV base pairs to single nucleotide variant base pairs is greater among non-Africans than it is among African populations, but we conclude that this difference is likely due to unique aspects of non-African population history as opposed to differences in CNV load.
doi:10.1126/science.aab3761
PMCID: PMC4568308  PMID: 26249230
4.  Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans 
Lazaridis, Iosif | Patterson, Nick | Mittnik, Alissa | Renaud, Gabriel | Mallick, Swapan | Kirsanow, Karola | Sudmant, Peter H. | Schraiber, Joshua G. | Castellano, Sergi | Lipson, Mark | Berger, Bonnie | Economou, Christos | Bollongino, Ruth | Fu, Qiaomei | Bos, Kirsten I. | Nordenfelt, Susanne | Li, Heng | de Filippo, Cesare | Prüfer, Kay | Sawyer, Susanna | Posth, Cosimo | Haak, Wolfgang | Hallgren, Fredrik | Fornander, Elin | Rohland, Nadin | Delsate, Dominique | Francken, Michael | Guinet, Jean-Michel | Wahl, Joachim | Ayodo, George | Babiker, Hamza A. | Bailliet, Graciela | Balanovska, Elena | Balanovsky, Oleg | Barrantes, Ramiro | Bedoya, Gabriel | Ben-Ami, Haim | Bene, Judit | Berrada, Fouad | Bravi, Claudio M. | Brisighelli, Francesca | Busby, George B. J. | Cali, Francesco | Churnosov, Mikhail | Cole, David E. C. | Corach, Daniel | Damba, Larissa | van Driem, George | Dryomov, Stanislav | Dugoujon, Jean-Michel | Fedorova, Sardana A. | Romero, Irene Gallego | Gubina, Marina | Hammer, Michael | Henn, Brenna M. | Hervig, Tor | Hodoglugil, Ugur | Jha, Aashish R. | Karachanak-Yankova, Sena | Khusainova, Rita | Khusnutdinova, Elza | Kittles, Rick | Kivisild, Toomas | Klitz, William | Kučinskas, Vaidutis | Kushniarevich, Alena | Laredj, Leila | Litvinov, Sergey | Loukidis, Theologos | Mahley, Robert W. | Melegh, Béla | Metspalu, Ene | Molina, Julio | Mountain, Joanna | Näkkäläjärvi, Klemetti | Nesheva, Desislava | Nyambo, Thomas | Osipova, Ludmila | Parik, Jüri | Platonov, Fedor | Posukh, Olga | Romano, Valentino | Rothhammer, Francisco | Rudan, Igor | Ruizbakiev, Ruslan | Sahakyan, Hovhannes | Sajantila, Antti | Salas, Antonio | Starikovskaya, Elena B. | Tarekegn, Ayele | Toncheva, Draga | Turdikulova, Shahlo | Uktveryte, Ingrida | Utevska, Olga | Vasquez, René | Villena, Mercedes | Voevoda, Mikhail | Winkler, Cheryl | Yepiskoposyan, Levon | Zalloua, Pierre | Zemunik, Tatijana | Cooper, Alan | Capelli, Cristian | Thomas, Mark G. | Ruiz-Linares, Andres | Tishkoff, Sarah A. | Singh, Lalji | Thangaraj, Kumarasamy | Villems, Richard | Comas, David | Sukernik, Rem | Metspalu, Mait | Meyer, Matthias | Eichler, Evan E. | Burger, Joachim | Slatkin, Montgomery | Pääbo, Svante | Kelso, Janet | Reich, David | Krause, Johannes
Nature  2014;513(7518):409-413.
We sequenced the genomes of a ~7,000 year old farmer from Germany and eight ~8,000 year old hunter-gatherers from Luxembourg and Sweden. We analyzed these and other ancient genomes1–4 with 2,345 contemporary humans to show that most present Europeans derive from at least three highly differentiated populations: West European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), who contributed ancestry to all Europeans but not to Near Easterners; Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) related to Upper Paleolithic Siberians3, who contributed to both Europeans and Near Easterners; and Early European Farmers (EEF), who were mainly of Near Eastern origin but also harbored WHG-related ancestry. We model these populations’ deep relationships and show that EEF had ~44% ancestry from a “Basal Eurasian” population that split prior to the diversification of other non-African lineages.
doi:10.1038/nature13673
PMCID: PMC4170574  PMID: 25230663
5.  An Aboriginal Australian Genome Reveals Separate Human Dispersals into Asia 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;334(6052):94-98.
We present an Aboriginal Australian genomic sequence obtained from a 100-year-old lock of hair donated by an Aboriginal man from southern Western Australia in the early 20th century. We detect no evidence of European admixture and estimate contamination levels to be below 0.5%. We show that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. We also find evidence of gene flow between populations of the two dispersal waves prior to the divergence of Native Americans from modern Asian ancestors. Our findings support the hypothesis that present-day Aboriginal Australians descend from the earliest humans to occupy Australia, likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa.
doi:10.1126/science.1211177
PMCID: PMC3991479  PMID: 21940856
6.  A Linguistically Informed Autosomal STR Survey of Human Populations Residing in the Greater Himalayan Region 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91534.
The greater Himalayan region demarcates two of the most prominent linguistic phyla in Asia: Tibeto-Burman and Indo-European. Previous genetic surveys, mainly using Y-chromosome polymorphisms and/or mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms suggested a substantially reduced geneflow between populations belonging to these two phyla. These studies, however, have mainly focussed on populations residing far to the north and/or south of this mountain range, and have not been able to study geneflow patterns within the greater Himalayan region itself. We now report a detailed, linguistically informed, genetic survey of Tibeto-Burman and Indo-European speakers from the Himalayan countries Nepal and Bhutan based on autosomal microsatellite markers and compare these populations with surrounding regions. The genetic differentiation between populations within the Himalayas seems to be much higher than between populations in the neighbouring countries. We also observe a remarkable genetic differentiation between the Tibeto-Burman speaking populations on the one hand and Indo-European speaking populations on the other, suggesting that language and geography have played an equally large role in defining the genetic composition of present-day populations within the Himalayas.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091534
PMCID: PMC3948894  PMID: 24614536
7.  The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48477.
Linguistic and genetic studies on Roma populations inhabited in Europe have unequivocally traced these populations to the Indian subcontinent. However, the exact parental population group and time of the out-of-India dispersal have remained disputed. In the absence of archaeological records and with only scanty historical documentation of the Roma, comparative linguistic studies were the first to identify their Indian origin. Recently, molecular studies on the basis of disease-causing mutations and haploid DNA markers (i.e. mtDNA and Y-chromosome) supported the linguistic view. The presence of Indian-specific Y-chromosome haplogroup H1a1a-M82 and mtDNA haplogroups M5a1, M18 and M35b among Roma has corroborated that their South Asian origins and later admixture with Near Eastern and European populations. However, previous studies have left unanswered questions about the exact parental population groups in South Asia. Here we present a detailed phylogeographical study of Y-chromosomal haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in a data set of more than 10,000 global samples to discern a more precise ancestral source of European Romani populations. The phylogeographical patterns and diversity estimates indicate an early origin of this haplogroup in the Indian subcontinent and its further expansion to other regions. Tellingly, the short tandem repeat (STR) based network of H1a1a-M82 lineages displayed the closest connection of Romani haplotypes with the traditional scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population groups of northwestern India.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477
PMCID: PMC3509117  PMID: 23209554
8.  Population Genetic Structure in Indian Austroasiatic Speakers: The Role of Landscape Barriers and Sex-Specific Admixture 
Molecular biology and evolution  2010;28(2):1013-1024.
The geographic origin and time of dispersal of Austroasiatic (AA) speakers, presently settled in south and southeast Asia, remains disputed. Two rival hypotheses, both assuming a demic component to the language dispersal, have been proposed. The first of these places the origin of Austroasiatic speakers in southeast Asia with a later dispersal to south Asia during the Neolithic, whereas the second hypothesis advocates pre-Neolithic origins and dispersal of this language family from south Asia. To test the two alternative models, this study combines the analysis of uniparentally inherited markers with 610,000 common single nucleotide polymorphism loci from the nuclear genome. Indian AA speakers have high frequencies of Y chromosome haplogroup O2a; our results show that this haplogroup has significantly higher diversity and coalescent time (17–28 thousand years ago) in southeast Asia, strongly supporting the first of the two hypotheses. Nevertheless, the results of principal component and “structure-like” analyses on autosomal loci also show that the population history of AA speakers in India is more complex, being characterized by two ancestral components—one represented in the pattern of Y chromosomal and EDAR results and the other by mitochondrial DNA diversity and genomic structure. We propose that AA speakers in India today are derived from dispersal from southeast Asia, followed by extensive sex-specific admixture with local Indian populations.
doi:10.1093/molbev/msq288
PMCID: PMC3355372  PMID: 20978040
Austroasiatic; mtDNA; Y chromosome; autosomes; admixture
9.  Nepalese populations show no association between the distribution of malaria and protective alleles 
Malaria is perhaps the most important parasitic infection and strongest known force for selection in the recent evolutionary history of the human genome. Genetically-determined resistance to malaria has been well-documented in some populations, mainly from Africa. The disease is also endemic in South Asia, the world’s second most populous region, where resistance to malaria has also been observed, for example in Nepal. The biological basis of this resistance, however, remains unclear. We have therefore investigated whether known African resistance alleles also confer resistance in Asia. We typed seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the genes HBB, FY, G6PD, TNFSF5, TNF, NOS2 and FCGR2A in 928 healthy individuals from Nepal. Five loci were found to be fixed for the non-resistant allele (HBB, FY, G6PD, TNFSF5 and NOS2). The remaining two (rs1800629 and rs1801274) showed the presence of the resistant allele at a frequency of 93% and 27% in TNF and FCGR2A, respectively. However, the frequencies of these alleles did not differ significantly between highland (susceptible) and lowland (resistant) populations. The observed differences in allele and genotype frequencies in Nepalese populations therefore seem to reflect demographic processes or other selective forces in the Himalayan region, rather than malaria selection pressure actin on these alleles.
PMCID: PMC2684443  PMID: 19461987
Malaria; Himalayas; Nepal; single nucleotide polymorphisms; selection; resistance
10.  Diversity of 26-locus Y-STR haplotypes in a Nepalese population sample: isolation and drift in the Himalayas 
Forensic science international  2006;166(2-3):176-181.
26 Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat (STR) loci were amplified in a sample of 769 unrelated males from Nepal, using two multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. The 26 loci gave a discriminating power of 0.997, with 59% unique haplotypes, and the highest frequency haplotype occurring 12 times. We identified novel alleles at four loci, microvariants at a further two, and nine examples of amelogenin-Y deletions (1.2%). Comparison with a similarly sized Bhutanese sample typed with the same markers suggested histories of isolation and drift, with drift having a greater effect in Bhutan. Extended (11-locus) haplotypes for the Nepalese samples have been submitted to the Y-STR Haplotype Reference Database.
doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.05.007
PMCID: PMC2627361  PMID: 16781103
Y chromosome; STRs; microsatellites; Haplotype; Nepal; Bhutan; Himalayas
11.  Diversity of 26-locus Y-STR haplotypes in a Nepalese population sample: Isolation and drift in the Himalayas 
Forensic Science International  2007;166(2-3):176-181.
Twenty-six Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat (STR) loci were amplified in a sample of 769 unrelated males from Nepal, using two multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. The 26 loci gave a discriminating power of 0.997, with 59% unique haplotypes, and the highest frequency haplotype occurring 12 times. We identified novel alleles at four loci, microvariants at a further two, and nine examples of amelogenin-Y deletions (1.2%). Comparison with a similarly sized Bhutanese sample typed with the same markers suggested histories of isolation and drift, with drift having a greater effect in Bhutan. Extended (11-locus) haplotypes for the Nepalese samples have been submitted to the Y-STR Haplotype Reference Database (YHRD).
doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2006.05.007
PMCID: PMC2627361  PMID: 16781103
Y chromosome; STRs; Microsatellites; Haplotype; Nepal; Bhutan; Himalayas
12.  Nepalese populations show no association between the distribution of malaria and protective alleles 
Malaria is perhaps the most important parasitic infection and strongest known force for selection in the recent evolutionary history of the human genome. Genetically-determined resistance to malaria has been well-documented in some populations, mainly from Africa. The disease is also endemic in South Asia, the world's second most populous region, where resistance to malaria has also been observed, for example in Nepal. The biological basis of this resistance, however, remains unclear. We have therefore investigated whether known African resistance alleles also confer resistance in Asia. We typed seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the genes HBB, FY, G6PD, TNFSF5, TNF, NOS2 and FCGR2A in 928 healthy individuals from Nepal. Five loci were found to be fixed for the non-resistant allele (HBB, FY, G6PD, TNFSF5 and NOS2). The remaining two (rs1800629 and rs1801274) showed the presence of the resistant allele at a frequency of 93% and 27% in TNF and FCGR2A, respectively. However, the frequencies of these alleles did not differ significantly between highland (susceptible) and lowland (resistant) populations. The observed differences in allele and genotype frequencies in Nepalese populations therefore seem to reflect demographic processes or other selective forces in the Himalayan region, rather than malaria selection pressure acting on these alleles.
PMCID: PMC2684443  PMID: 19461987
Malaria; Himalayas; Nepal; single nucleotide polymorphisms; selection; resistance

Results 1-12 (12)