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Statistical evaluation of alternative models of human evolution

Fagundes, N. J. R., Ray, N., Beaumont, M., Neuenschwander, S., Salzano, F. M., Bonatto, S. L. and Excoffier, L. (2007) Statistical evaluation of alternative models of human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (45). pp. 17614-17619. ISSN 0027-8424

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708280104

Abstract/Summary

An appropriate model of recent human evolution is not only important to understand our own history, but it is necessary to disentangle the effects of demography and selection on genome diversity. Although most genetic data support the view that our species originated recently in Africa, it is still unclear if it completely replaced former members of the Homo genus, or if some interbreeding occurred during its range expansion. Several scenarios of modern human evolution have been proposed on the basis of molecular and paleontological data, but their likelihood has never been statistically assessed. Using DNA data from 50 nuclear loci sequenced in African, Asian and Native American samples, we show here by extensive simulations that a simple African replacement model with exponential growth has a higher probability (78%) as compared with alternative multiregional evolution or assimilation scenarios. A Bayesian analysis of the data under this best supported model points to an origin of our species approximate to 141 thousand years ago (Kya), an exit out-of-Africa approximate to 51 Kya, and a recent colonization of the Americas approximate to 10.5 Kya. We also find that the African replacement model explains not only the shallow ancestry of mtDNA or Y-chromosomes but also the occurrence of deep lineages at some autosomal loci, which has been formerly interpreted as a sign of interbreeding with Homo erectus.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:9982
Uncontrolled Keywords:bayesian analysis, DNA nuclear data, multiregional hypothesis, out of, Africa hypothesis, MODERN HUMAN ORIGINS, CHAIN MONTE-CARLO, HUMAN GENOME, POPULATION-STRUCTURE, BAYESIAN-ANALYSIS, NEANDERTHAL DNA, HUMAN, HISTORY, NEW-WORLD, DIVERSITY, GENETICS

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