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Inferring adaptive gene-flow in recent African history: OCT 2017
  • George Busby,
  • spencer
George Busby
University of Oxford

Corresponding Author:george.busby@gmail.com

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Gene-flow from an ancestrally differentiated group has been shown to be a powerful source of selectively advantageous variants. To understand whether recent gene-flow may have contributed to adaptation among humans in sub-Saharan Africa, we applied a novel method to identify deviations in ancestry inferred from genome-wide data in 48 populations. Among the signals of ancestry deviation that we find in the Fula, an historically pastoralist ethnic group from the Gambia, are the region that encodes the lactose persistence phenotype, LCT/MCM6, which has the highest proportion of Eurasian ancestry in the genome. The region with the lowest proportion of non-African ancestry is across DARC, which encodes the Duffy null phenotype and is protective for Plasmodium vivax malaria. In the Jola from the Gambia and a Khoesan speaking group from Namibia we find multiple regions with inferred ancestry deviation including the Major Histocompatibility Complex. Our analysis shows the potential for adaptive gene-flow in recent human history.