Global variation in skin pigmentation is one of the most striking examples of environmental adaptation in humans. More than two hundred loci have been identified as candidate genes in model organisms and a few tens of these have been found to be significantly associated with human skin pigmentation in genome-wide association studies. However, the evolutionary history of different pigmentation genes is rather complex: some loci have been subjected to strong positive selection, while others evolved under the relaxation of functional constraints in low UV environment. Here we report the results of a global study of the human tyrosinase gene, which is one of the key enzymes in melanin production, to assess the role of its variation in the evolution of skin pigmentation differences among human populations. We observe a higher rate of non-synonymous polymorphisms in the European sample consistent with the relaxation of selective constraints. A similar pattern was previously observed in the MC1R gene and concurs with UV radiation-driven model of skin color evolution by which mutations leading to lower melanin levels and decreased photoprotection are subject to purifying selection at low latitudes while being tolerated or even favored at higher latitudes because they facilitate UV-dependent vitamin D production. Our coalescent date estimates suggest that the non-synonymous variants, which are frequent in Europe and North Africa, are recent and have emerged after the separation of East and West Eurasian populations.
The Y-chromosome haplogroup N-M231 (Hg N) is distributed widely in eastern and central Asia, Siberia, as well as in eastern and northern Europe. Previous studies suggested a counterclockwise prehistoric migration of Hg N from eastern Asia to eastern and northern Europe. However, the root of this Y chromosome lineage and its detailed dispersal pattern across eastern Asia are still unclear. We analyzed haplogroup profiles and phylogeographic patterns of 1,570 Hg N individuals from 20,826 males in 359 populations across Eurasia. We first genotyped 6,371 males from 169 populations in China and Cambodia, and generated data of 360 Hg N individuals, and then combined published data on 1,210 Hg N individuals from Japanese, Southeast Asian, Siberian, European and Central Asian populations. The results showed that the sub-haplogroups of Hg N have a distinct geographical distribution. The highest Y-STR diversity of the ancestral Hg N sub-haplogroups was observed in the southern part of mainland East Asia, and further phylogeographic analyses supports an origin of Hg N in southern China. Combined with previous data, we propose that the early northward dispersal of Hg N started from southern China about 21 thousand years ago (kya), expanding into northern China 12–18 kya, and reaching further north to Siberia about 12–14 kya before a population expansion and westward migration into Central Asia and eastern/northern Europe around 8.0–10.0 kya. This northward migration of Hg N likewise coincides with retreating ice sheets after the Last Glacial Maximum (22–18 kya) in mainland East Asia.
Ethnic Belarusians make up more than 80% of the nine and half million people inhabiting the Republic of Belarus. Belarusians together with Ukrainians and Russians represent the East Slavic linguistic group, largest both in numbers and territory, inhabiting East Europe alongside Baltic-, Finno-Permic- and Turkic-speaking people. Till date, only a limited number of low resolution genetic studies have been performed on this population. Therefore, with the phylogeographic analysis of 565 Y-chromosomes and 267 mitochondrial DNAs from six well covered geographic sub-regions of Belarus we strove to complement the existing genetic profile of eastern Europeans. Our results reveal that around 80% of the paternal Belarusian gene pool is composed of R1a, I2a and N1c Y-chromosome haplogroups – a profile which is very similar to the two other eastern European populations – Ukrainians and Russians. The maternal Belarusian gene pool encompasses a full range of West Eurasian haplogroups and agrees well with the genetic structure of central-east European populations. Our data attest that latitudinal gradients characterize the variation of the uniparentally transmitted gene pools of modern Belarusians. In particular, the Y-chromosome reflects movements of people in central-east Europe, starting probably as early as the beginning of the Holocene. Furthermore, the matrilineal legacy of Belarusians retains two rare mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, N1a3 and N3, whose phylogeographies were explored in detail after de novo sequencing of 20 and 13 complete mitogenomes, respectively, from all over Eurasia. Our phylogeographic analyses reveal that two mitochondrial DNA lineages, N3 and N1a3, both of Middle Eastern origin, might mark distinct events of matrilineal gene flow to Europe: during the mid-Holocene period and around the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, respectively.
Sub-population structure and intricate kinship dynamics might introduce biases in molecular anthropology studies and could invalidate the efforts to understand diseases in highly admixed populations. In order to clarify the previously observed distribution pattern and morbidity of Chagas disease in Gran Chaco, Argentina, we studied two populations (Wichí and Criollos) recruited following an innovative bio-cultural model considering their complex cultural interactions. By reconstructing the genetic background and the structure of these two culturally different populations, the pattern of admixture, the correspondence between genealogical and genetic relationships, this integrated perspective had the power to validate data and to link the gap usually relying on a singular discipline. Although Wichí and Criollos share the same area, these sympatric populations are differentiated from the genetic point of view as revealed by Non Recombinant Y Chromosome genotyping resulting in significantly high Fst values and in a lower genetic variability in the Wichí population. Surprisingly, the Amerindian and the European components emerged with comparable amounts (20%) among Criollos and Wichí respectively. The detailed analysis of mitochondrial DNA showed that the two populations have as much as 87% of private haplotypes. Moreover, from the maternal perspective, despite a common Amerindian origin, an Andean and an Amazonian component emerged in Criollos and in Wichí respectively. Our approach allowed us to highlight that quite frequently there is a discrepancy between self-reported and genetic kinship. Indeed, if self-reported identity and kinship are usually utilized in population genetics as a reliable proxy for genetic identity and parental relationship, in our model populations appear to be the result not only and not simply of the genetic background but also of complex cultural determinants. This integrated approach paves the way to a rigorous reconstruction of demographic and cultural history as well as of bioancestry and propensity to diseases of Wichí and Criollos.
The Tibetan and Andean Plateaus and Ethiopian highlands are the largest regions to have long-term high-altitude residents. Such populations are exposed to lower barometric pressures and hence atmospheric partial pressures of oxygen. Such “hypobaric hypoxia” may limit physical functional capacity, reproductive health, and even survival. As such, selection of genetic variants advantageous to hypoxic adaptation is likely to have occurred. Identifying signatures of such selection is likely to help understanding of hypoxic adaptive processes. Here, we seek evidence of such positive selection using five Ethiopian populations, three of which are from high-altitude areas in Ethiopia. As these populations may have been recipients of Eurasian gene flow, we correct for this admixture. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism genotype data from multiple populations, we find the strongest signal of selection in BHLHE41 (also known as DEC2 or SHARP1). Remarkably, a major role of this gene is regulation of the same hypoxia response pathway on which selection has most strikingly been observed in both Tibetan and Andean populations. Because it is also an important player in the circadian rhythm pathway, BHLHE41 might also provide insights into the mechanisms underlying the recognized impacts of hypoxia on the circadian clock. These results support the view that Ethiopian, Andean, and Tibetan populations living at high altitude have adapted to hypoxia differently, with convergent evolution affecting different genes from the same pathway.
adaptation to high altitude; natural selection
A premature stop codon in ACTN3 resulting in α-actinin-3 deficiency (the ACTN3 577XX genotype) is common in humans and reduces strength, muscle mass, and fast-twitch fiber diameter, but increases the metabolic efficiency of skeletal muscle. Linkage disequilibrium data suggest that the ACTN3 R577X allele has undergone positive selection during human evolution. The allele has been hypothesized to be adaptive in environments with scarce resources where efficient muscle metabolism would be selected. Here we test this hypothesis by using recently developed comparative methods that account for evolutionary relatedness and gene flow among populations. We find evidence that the ACTN3 577XX genotype evolved in association with the global latitudinal gradient. Our results suggest that environmental variables related to latitudinal variation, such as species richness and mean annual temperature, may have influenced the adaptive evolution of ACTN3 577XX during recent human history.
Genetic studies of human local adaptation have been facilitated greatly by recent advances in high-throughput genotyping and sequencing technologies. However, few studies have investigated local adaptation in Asian populations on a genome-wide scale and with a high geographic resolution. In this study, taking advantage of the dense population coverage in Southeast Asia, which is the part of the world least studied in term of natural selection, we depicted genome-wide landscapes of local adaptations in 63 Asian populations representing the majority of linguistic and ethnic groups in Asia. Using genome-wide data analysis, we discovered many genes showing signs of local adaptation or natural selection. Notable examples, such as FOXQ1, MAST2, and CDH4, were found to play a role in hair follicle development and human cancer, signal transduction, and tumor repression, respectively. These showed strong indications of natural selection in Philippine Negritos, a group of aboriginal hunter-gatherers living in the Philippines. MTTP, which has associations with metabolic syndrome, body mass index, and insulin regulation, showed a strong signature of selection in Southeast Asians, including Indonesians. Functional annotation analysis revealed that genes and genetic variants underlying natural selections were generally enriched in the functional category of alternative splicing. Specifically, many genes showing significant difference with respect to allele frequency between northern and southern Asian populations were found to be associated with human height and growth and various immune pathways. In summary, this study contributes to the overall understanding of human local adaptation in Asia and has identified both known and novel signatures of natural selection in the human genome.
Antisocial and criminal behaviors are multifactorial traits whose interpretation relies on multiple disciplines. Since these interpretations may have social, moral and legal implications, a constant review of the evidence is necessary before any scientific claim is considered as truth. A recent study proposed that men with wider faces relative to facial height (fWHR) are more likely to develop unethical behaviour mediated by a psychological sense of power. This research was based on reports suggesting that sexual dimorphism and selection would be responsible for a correlation between fWHR and aggression. Here we show that 4,960 individuals from 94 modern human populations belonging to a vast array of genetic and cultural contexts do not display significant amounts of fWHR sexual dimorphism. Further analyses using populations with associated ethnographical records as well as samples of male prisoners of the Mexico City Federal Penitentiary condemned by crimes of variable level of inter-personal aggression (homicide, robbery, and minor faults) did not show significant evidence, suggesting that populations/individuals with higher levels of bellicosity, aggressive behaviour, or power-mediated behaviour display greater fWHR. Finally, a regression analysis of fWHR on individual's fitness showed no significant correlation between this facial trait and reproductive success. Overall, our results suggest that facial attributes are poor predictors of aggressive behaviour, or at least, that sexual selection was weak enough to leave a signal on patterns of between- and within-sex and population facial variation.
A Southwest Asian origin and dispersal to North Africa in the Early Upper Palaeolithic era has been inferred in previous studies for mtDNA haplogroups M1 and U6. Both haplogroups have been proposed to show similar geographic patterns and shared demographic histories.
We report here 24 M1 and 33 U6 new complete mtDNA sequences that allow us to refine the existing phylogeny of these haplogroups. The resulting phylogenetic information was used to genotype a further 131 M1 and 91 U6 samples to determine the geographic spread of their sub-clades. No southwest Asian specific clades for M1 or U6 were discovered. U6 and M1 frequencies in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe do not follow similar patterns, and their sub-clade divisions do not appear to be compatible with their shared history reaching back to the Early Upper Palaeolithic. The Bayesian Skyline Plots testify to non-overlapping phases of expansion, and the haplogroups’ phylogenies suggest that there are U6 sub-clades that expanded earlier than those in M1. Some M1 and U6 sub-clades could be linked with certain events. For example, U6a1 and M1b, with their coalescent ages of ~20,000–22,000 years ago and earliest inferred expansion in northwest Africa, could coincide with the flourishing of the Iberomaurusian industry, whilst U6b and M1b1 appeared at the time of the Capsian culture.
Our high-resolution phylogenetic dissection of both haplogroups and coalescent time assessments suggest that the extant main branching pattern of both haplogroups arose and diversified in the mid-later Upper Palaeolithic, with some sub-clades concomitantly with the expansion of the Iberomaurusian industry. Carriers of these maternal lineages have been later absorbed into and diversified further during the spread of Afro-Asiatic languages in North and East Africa.
mtDNA haplogroups M1 and U6; Afro-Asiatic languages; North Africa
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.
Pigmentation is a readily scorable and quantitative human phenotype, making it an excellent model for studying multifactorial traits and diseases. Convergent human evolution from the ancestral state, darker skin, towards lighter skin colors involved divergent genetic mechanisms in people of European vs. East Asian ancestry. It is striking that the European mechanisms result in a 10–20-fold increase in skin cancer susceptibility while the East Asian mechanisms do not. Towards the mapping of genes that contribute to East Asian pigmentation there is need for one or more populations that are admixed for ancestral and East Asian ancestry, but with minimal European contribution. This requirement is fulfilled by the Senoi, one of three indigenous tribes of Peninsular Malaysia collectively known as the Orang Asli. The Senoi are thought to be an admixture of the Negrito, an ancestral dark-skinned population representing the second of three Orang Asli tribes, and regional Mongoloid populations of Indo-China such as the Proto-Malay, the third Orang Asli tribe. We have calculated skin reflectance-based melanin indices in 492 Orang Asli, which ranged from 28 (lightest) to 75 (darkest); both extremes were represented in the Senoi. Population averages were 56 for Negrito, 42 for Proto-Malay, and 46 for Senoi. The derived allele frequencies for SLC24A5 and SLC45A2 in the Senoi were 0.04 and 0.02, respectively, consistent with greater South Asian than European admixture. Females and individuals with the A111T mutation had significantly lighter skin (p = 0.001 and 0.0039, respectively). Individuals with these derived alleles were found across the spectrum of skin color, indicating an overriding effect of strong skin lightening alleles of East Asian origin. These results suggest that the Senoi are suitable for mapping East Asian skin color genes.
Vlad III The Impaler, also known as Dracula, descended from the dynasty of Basarab, the first rulers of independent Wallachia, in present Romania. Whether this dynasty is of Cuman (an admixed Turkic people that reached Wallachia from the East in the 11th century) or of local Romanian (Vlach) origin is debated among historians. Earlier studies have demonstrated the value of investigating the Y chromosome of men bearing a historical name, in order to identify their genetic origin. We sampled 29 Romanian men carrying the surname Basarab, in addition to four Romanian populations (from counties Dolj, N = 38; Mehedinti, N = 11; Cluj, N = 50; and Brasov, N = 50), and compared the data with the surrounding populations. We typed 131 SNPs and 19 STRs in the non-recombinant part of the Y-chromosome in all the individuals. We computed a PCA to situate the Basarab individuals in the context of Romania and its neighboring populations. Different Y-chromosome haplogroups were found within the individuals bearing the Basarab name. All haplogroups are common in Romania and other Central and Eastern European populations. In a PCA, the Basarab group clusters within other Romanian populations. We found several clusters of Basarab individuals having a common ancestor within the period of the last 600 years. The diversity of haplogroups found shows that not all individuals carrying the surname Basarab can be direct biological descendants of the Basarab dynasty. The absence of Eastern Asian lineages in the Basarab men can be interpreted as a lack of evidence for a Cuman origin of the Basarab dynasty, although it cannot be positively ruled out. It can be therefore concluded that the Basarab dynasty was successful in spreading its name beyond the spread of its genes.
The authors have used an online community approach, and tools that were readily available via the Internet, to discover genealogically and therefore phylogenetically relevant Y-chromosome polymorphisms within core haplogroup R1b1a2-L11/S127 (rs9786076). Presented here is the analysis of 135 unrelated L11 derived samples from the 1000 Genomes Project. We were able to discover new variants and build a much more complex phylogenetic relationship for L11 sub-clades. Many of the variants were further validated using PCR amplification and Sanger sequencing. The identification of these new variants will help further the understanding of population history including patrilineal migrations in Western and Central Europe where R1b1a2 is the most frequent haplogroup. The fine-grained phylogenetic tree we present here will also help to refine historical genetic dating studies. Our findings demonstrate the power of citizen science for analysis of whole genome sequence data.
Knowledge of high resolution Y-chromosome haplogroup diversification within Iran provides important geographic context regarding the spread and compartmentalization of male lineages in the Middle East and southwestern Asia. At present, the Iranian population is characterized by an extraordinary mix of different ethnic groups speaking a variety of Indo-Iranian, Semitic and Turkic languages. Despite these features, only few studies have investigated the multiethnic components of the Iranian gene pool. In this survey 938 Iranian male DNAs belonging to 15 ethnic groups from 14 Iranian provinces were analyzed for 84 Y-chromosome biallelic markers and 10 STRs. The results show an autochthonous but non-homogeneous ancient background mainly composed by J2a sub-clades with different external contributions. The phylogeography of the main haplogroups allowed identifying post-glacial and Neolithic expansions toward western Eurasia but also recent movements towards the Iranian region from western Eurasia (R1b-L23), Central Asia (Q-M25), Asia Minor (J2a-M92) and southern Mesopotamia (J1-Page08). In spite of the presence of important geographic barriers (Zagros and Alborz mountain ranges, and the Dasht-e Kavir and Dash-e Lut deserts) which may have limited gene flow, AMOVA analysis revealed that language, in addition to geography, has played an important role in shaping the nowadays Iranian gene pool. Overall, this study provides a portrait of the Y-chromosomal variation in Iran, useful for depicting a more comprehensive history of the peoples of this area as well as for reconstructing ancient migration routes. In addition, our results evidence the important role of the Iranian plateau as source and recipient of gene flow between culturally and genetically distinct populations.
Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905) to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the FST-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele.
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.
Austroasiatic; mtDNA; Y chromosome; autosomes; admixture
The population of Argentina is the result of the intermixing between several groups, including Indigenous American, European and African populations. Despite the commonly held idea that the population of Argentina is of mostly European origin, multiple studies have shown that this process of admixture had an impact in the entire Argentine population. In the present study we characterized the distribution of Indigenous American, European and African ancestry among individuals from different regions of Argentina and evaluated the level of discrepancy between self-reported grandparental origin and genetic ancestry estimates. A set of 99 autosomal ancestry informative markers (AIMs) was genotyped in a sample of 441 Argentine individuals to estimate genetic ancestry. We used non-parametric tests to evaluate statistical significance. The average ancestry for the Argentine sample overall was 65% European (95%CI: 63–68%), 31% Indigenous American (28–33%) and 4% African (3–4%). We observed statistically significant differences in European ancestry across Argentine regions [Buenos Aires province (BA) 76%, 95%CI: 73–79%; Northeast (NEA) 54%, 95%CI: 49–58%; Northwest (NWA) 33%, 95%CI: 21–41%; South 54%, 95%CI: 49–59%; p<0.0001] as well as between the capital and immediate suburbs of Buenos Aires city compared to more distant suburbs [80% (95%CI: 75–86%) versus 68% (95%CI: 58–77%), p = 0.01]. European ancestry among individuals that declared all grandparents born in Europe was 91% (95%CI: 88–94%) compared to 54% (95%CI: 51–57%) among those with no European grandparents (p<0.001). Our results demonstrate the range of variation in genetic ancestry among Argentine individuals from different regions in the country, highlighting the importance of taking this variation into account in genetic association and admixture mapping studies in this population.
The central Indian state Madhya Pradesh is often called as ‘heart of India’ and has always been an important region functioning as a trinexus belt for three major language families (Indo-European, Dravidian and Austroasiatic). There are less detailed genetic studies on the populations inhabited in this region. Therefore, this study is an attempt for extensive characterization of genetic ancestries of three tribal populations, namely; Bharia, Bhil and Sahariya, inhabiting this region using haploid and diploid DNA markers.
Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed high diversity, including some of the older sublineages of M haplogroup and prominent R lineages in all the three tribes. Y-chromosomal biallelic markers revealed high frequency of Austroasiatic-specific M95-O2a haplogroup in Bharia and Sahariya, M82-H1a in Bhil and M17-R1a in Bhil and Sahariya. The results obtained by haploid as well as diploid genetic markers revealed strong genetic affinity of Bharia (a Dravidian speaking tribe) with the Austroasiatic (Munda) group. The gene flow from Austroasiatic group is further confirmed by their Y-STRs haplotype sharing analysis, where we determined their founder haplotype from the North Munda speaking tribe, while, autosomal analysis was largely in concordant with the haploid DNA results.
Bhil exhibited largely Indo-European specific ancestry, while Sahariya and Bharia showed admixed genetic package of Indo-European and Austroasiatic populations. Hence, in a landscape like India, linguistic label doesn't unequivocally follow the genetic footprints.
With the aim of uncovering all of the most basal variation in the northern Asian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups, we have analyzed mtDNA control region and coding region sequence variation in 98 Altaian Kazakhs from southern Siberia and 149 Barghuts from Inner Mongolia, China. Both populations exhibit the prevalence of eastern Eurasian lineages accounting for 91.9% in Barghuts and 60.2% in Altaian Kazakhs. The strong affinity of Altaian Kazakhs and populations of northern and central Asia has been revealed, reflecting both influences of central Asian inhabitants and essential genetic interaction with the Altai region indigenous populations. Statistical analyses data demonstrate a close positioning of all Mongolic-speaking populations (Mongolians, Buryats, Khamnigans, Kalmyks as well as Barghuts studied here) and Turkic-speaking Sojots, thus suggesting their origin from a common maternal ancestral gene pool. In order to achieve a thorough coverage of DNA lineages revealed in the northern Asian matrilineal gene pool, we have completely sequenced the mtDNA of 55 samples representing haplogroups R11b, B4, B5, F2, M9, M10, M11, M13, N9a and R9c1, which were pinpointed from a massive collection (over 5000 individuals) of northern and eastern Asian, as well as European control region mtDNA sequences. Applying the newly updated mtDNA tree to the previously reported northern Asian and eastern Asian mtDNA data sets has resolved the status of the poorly classified mtDNA types and allowed us to obtain the coalescence age estimates of the nodes of interest using different calibrated rates. Our findings confirm our previous conclusion that northern Asian maternal gene pool consists of predominantly post-LGM components of eastern Asian ancestry, though some genetic lineages may have a pre-LGM/LGM origin.
The phylogenetic relationships of numerous branches within the core Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M207 support a West Asian origin of haplogroup R1b, its initial differentiation there followed by a rapid spread of one of its sub-clades carrying the M269 mutation to Europe. Here, we present phylogeographically resolved data for 2043 M269-derived Y-chromosomes from 118 West Asian and European populations assessed for the M412 SNP that largely separates the majority of Central and West European R1b lineages from those observed in Eastern Europe, the Circum-Uralic region, the Near East, the Caucasus and Pakistan. Within the M412 dichotomy, the major S116 sub-clade shows a frequency peak in the upper Danube basin and Paris area with declining frequency toward Italy, Iberia, Southern France and British Isles. Although this frequency pattern closely approximates the spread of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Neolithic culture, an advent leading to a number of pre-historic cultural developments during the past ≤10 thousand years, more complex pre-Neolithic scenarios remain possible for the L23(xM412) components in Southeast Europe and elsewhere.
Y-chromosome; haplogroup R1b; human evolution; population genetics
The HUGO Pan-Asian SNP Consortium has recently released a genome-wide dataset, which consists of 1,719 DNA samples collected from 71 Asian populations. For studies of human population genetics such as genetic structure and migration history, this provided the most comprehensive large-scale survey of genetic variation to date in East and Southeast Asia. However, although considered in the analysis, close relatives were not clearly reported in the original paper. Here we performed a systematic analysis of genetic relationships among individuals from the Pan-Asian SNP (PASNP) database and identified 3 pairs of monozygotic twins or duplicate samples, 100 pairs of first-degree and 161 second-degree of relationships. Three standardized subsets with different levels of unrelated individuals were suggested here for future applications of the samples in most types of population-genetics studies (denoted by PASNP1716, PASNP1640 and PASNP1583 respectively) based on the relationships inferred in this study. In addition, we provided gender information for PASNP samples, which were not included in the original dataset, based on analysis of X chromosome data.
It is a major question in archaeology and anthropology whether human populations started to grow primarily after the advent of agriculture, i.e., the Neolithic time, especially in East Asia, which was one of the centers of ancient agricultural civilization. To answer this question requires an accurate estimation of the time of lineage expansion as well as that of population expansion in a population sample without ascertainment bias. In this study, we analyzed all available mtDNA genomes of East Asians ascertained by random sampling, a total of 367 complete mtDNA sequences generated by the 1000 Genome Project, including 249 Chinese (CHB, CHD, and CHS) and 118 Japanese (JPT). We found that major mtDNA lineages underwent expansions, all of which, except for two JPT-specific lineages, including D4, D4b2b, D4a, D4j, D5a2a, A, N9a, F1a1'4, F2, B4, B4a, G2a1 and M7b1'2'4, occurred before 10 kya, i.e., before the Neolithic time (symbolized by Dadiwan Culture at 7.9 kya) in East Asia. Consistent to this observation, the further analysis showed that the population expansion in East Asia started at 13 kya and lasted until 4 kya. The results suggest that the population growth in East Asia constituted a need for the introduction of agriculture and might be one of the driving forces that led to the further development of agriculture.
The importance of excess salt intake in the pathogenesis of hypertension is widely recognized. Blood pressure is controlled primarily by salt and water balance because of the infinite gain property of the kidney to rapidly eliminate excess fluid and salt. Up to fifty percent of patients with essential hypertension are salt-sensitive, as manifested by a rise in blood pressure with salt loading. We conducted a two-stage genetic analysis in hypertensive patients very accurately phenotyped for their salt-sensitivity. All newly discovered never treated before, essential hypertensives underwent an acute salt load to monitor the simultaneous changes in blood pressure and renal sodium excretion. The first stage consisted in an association analysis of genotyping data derived from genome-wide array on 329 subjects. Principal Component Analysis demonstrated that this population was homogenous. Among the strongest results, we detected a cluster of SNPs located in the first introns of PRKG1 gene (rs7897633, p = 2.34E-05) associated with variation in diastolic blood pressure after acute salt load. We further focused on two genetic loci, SLC24A3 and SLC8A1 (plasma membrane sodium/calcium exchange proteins, NCKX3 and NCX1, respectively) with a functional relationship with the previous gene and associated to variations in systolic blood pressure (the imputed rs3790261, p = 4.55E-06; and rs434082, p = 4.7E-03). In stage 2, we characterized 159 more patients for the SNPs in PRKG1, SLC24A3 and SLC8A1. Combined analysis showed an epistatic interaction of SNPs in SLC24A3 and SLC8A1 on the pressure-natriuresis (p interaction = 1.55E-04, p model = 3.35E-05), supporting their pathophysiological link in cellular calcium homeostasis. In conclusions, these findings point to a clear association between body sodium-blood pressure relations and molecules modulating the contractile state of vascular cells through an increase in cytoplasmic calcium concentration.
Human Y-chromosome haplogroup structure is largely circumscribed by continental boundaries. One notable exception to this general pattern is the young haplogroup R1a that exhibits post-Glacial coalescent times and relates the paternal ancestry of more than 10% of men in a wide geographic area extending from South Asia to Central East Europe and South Siberia. Its origin and dispersal patterns are poorly understood as no marker has yet been described that would distinguish European R1a chromosomes from Asian. Here we present frequency and haplotype diversity estimates for more than 2000 R1a chromosomes assessed for several newly discovered SNP markers that introduce the onset of informative R1a subdivisions by geography. Marker M434 has a low frequency and a late origin in West Asia bearing witness to recent gene flow over the Arabian Sea. Conversely, marker M458 has a significant frequency in Europe, exceeding 30% in its core area in Eastern Europe and comprising up to 70% of all M17 chromosomes present there. The diversity and frequency profiles of M458 suggest its origin during the early Holocene and a subsequent expansion likely related to a number of prehistoric cultural developments in the region. Its primary frequency and diversity distribution correlates well with some of the major Central and East European river basins where settled farming was established before its spread further eastward. Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.
Y chromosome; haplogroup R1a; human evolution; population genetics