Journal article

Reconstructing Prehistoric African Population Structure

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Publication Details

Author list: Skoglund P, Thompson JC, Prendergast ME, Mittnik A, Sirak K, Hajdinjak M, Salie T, Rohland N, Mallick S, Peltzer A, Heinze A, Olalde I, Ferry M, Harney E, Michel M, Stewardson K, Cerezo-Román JI, Chiumia C, Crowther A, Gomani-Chindebvu E, Gidna AO, Grillo KM, Helenius IT, Hellenthal G, Helm R, Horton M, López S, Mabulla AZP, Parkington J, Shipton C, Thomas MG, Tibesasa R, Welling M, Hayes VM, Kennett DJ, Ramesar R, Meyer M, Pääbo S, Patterson N, Morris AG, Boivin N, Pinhasi R, Krause J, Reich D

Publisher: Royan Institute

Publication year: 2017

Journal: Cell Journal (Yakhteh)

Journal name: Cell

Volume number: 171

Issue number: 1

Start page: 59

End page: 71

Total number of pages: 13

ISSN: 2228-5806

eISSN: 2228-5814



We assembled genome-wide data from 16 prehistoric
Africans. We show that the anciently divergent
lineage that comprises the primary ancestry of the
southern African San had a wider distribution in
the past, contributing approximately two-thirds of
the ancestry of Malawi hunter-gatherers 8,100–
2,500 years ago and approximately one-third of the
ancestry of Tanzanian hunter-gatherers 1,400
years ago. We document how the spread of farmers
from western Africa involved complete replacement
of local hunter-gatherers in some regions, and we
track the spread of herders by showing that the
population of a 3,100-year-old pastoralist from
Tanzania contributed ancestry to people from northeastern
to southern Africa, including a 1,200-year old
southern African pastoralist. The deepest diversification of African lineages were complex, involving
either repeated gene flow among geographically
disparate groups or a lineage more deeply diverging
than that of the San contributing more to some western
African populations than to others. We finally
leverage ancient genomes to document episodes of
natural selection in southern African populations.


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Adaptation, ancient DNA, population genetics

Last updated on 2019-18-04 at 10:52