Rxivist logo

Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 65,305 bioRxiv papers from 289,273 authors.

Assessing the relationship of ancient and modern populations

By Joshua G Schraiber

Posted 04 Mar 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/113779 (published DOI: 10.1534/genetics.117.300448)

Genetic material sequenced from ancient samples is revolutionizing our understanding of the recent evolutionary past. However, ancient DNA is often degraded, resulting in low coverage, error-prone sequencing. Several solutions exist to this problem, ranging from simple approach such as selecting a read at random for each site to more complicated approaches involving genotype likelihoods. In this work, we present a novel method for assessing the relationship of an ancient sample with a modern population while accounting for sequencing error by analyzing raw read from multiple ancient individuals simultaneously. We show that when analyzing SNP data, it is better to sequencing more ancient samples to low coverage: two samples sequenced to 0.5x coverage provide better resolution than a single sample sequenced to 2x coverage. We also examined the power to detect whether an ancient sample is directly ancestral to a modern population, finding that with even a few high coverage individuals, even ancient samples that are very slightly diverged from the modern population can be detected with ease. When we applied our approach to European samples, we found that no ancient samples represent direct ancestors of modern Europeans. We also found that, as shown previously, the most ancient Europeans appear to have had the smallest effective population sizes, indicating a role for agriculture in modern population growth.

Download data

  • Downloaded 1,557 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 3,579 out of 65,305
    • In evolutionary biology: 175 out of 4,362
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 55,643 out of 65,305
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 34,839 out of 65,305

Altmetric data


Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


News