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A Chronological Atlas of Natural Selection in the Human Genome during the Past Half-million Years

By Hang Zhou, Sile Hu, Rostislav Matveev, Qianhui Yu, Jing Li, Philipp Khaitovich, Li Jin, Michael Lachmann, Mark Stoneking, Qiaomei Fu, Kun Tang

Posted 05 May 2015
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/018929

The spatiotemporal distribution of recent human adaptation is a long standing question. We developed a new coalescent-based method that collectively assigned human genome regions to modes of neutrality or to positive, negative, or balancing selection. Most importantly, the selection times were estimated for all positive selection signals, which ranged over the last half million years, penetrating the emergence of anatomically modern human (AMH). These selection time estimates were further supported by analyses of the genome sequences from three ancient AMHs and the Neanderthals. A series of brain function-related genes were found to carry signals of ancient selective sweeps, which may have defined the evolution of cognitive abilities either before Neanderthal divergence or during the emergence of AMH. Particularly, signals of brain evolution in AMH are strongly related to Alzheimer's disease pathways. In conclusion, this study reports a chronological atlas of natural selection in Human.

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