Navigation Links
Genetic data added to archaeology and linguistics to get picture of African population history

PHILADELPHIA - Genetic researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have combined data from existing archaeological and linguistic studies of Africa with human genetic data to shed light on the demographic history of the continent from which all human activity emerged.

The study reveals not just a clearer picture of the continent's history but also the importance of having independent lines of evidence in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data in the reconstruction of population histories.

The study is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The results, according to Penn geneticist Sarah Tishkoff, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor with joint appointments in the schools of Medicine and Arts and Science, is that genetic variation in Africa is structured geographically, and to a lesser extent, linguistically. The findings are consistent with the notion that populations in close geographic proximity that speak linguistically similar languages are more likely to exchange genes.

Furthermore, genetic variation in Africa appears consistent with the natural, geographic barriers that limit gene flow. In particular, there are geographic, and therefore genetic, distinctions between northern African and sub-Saharan African populations due to the vast desert that limited migration.

"Focusing on particular exceptions to these broad patterns will enable us to discern and fully appreciate the complex population histories that have contributed to extant patterns of genetic variation," said Tishkoff, the David and Lyn Silfen University Associate Professor. "Disentangling past population histories is a formidably complicated task that benefits from the synthesis of archaeological, linguistic and genetic data."

With this three-pronged approach, a clearer picture emerges.

Archaeology provides insights into ancient technology and culture, affording a timeline for the emergence of innovations. Historical linguistic data complement the archaeological record by contributing an independent phylogenetic analysis of language relationships and providing clues about ancient population migration and admixture events. Genetic data provide an independent data source to understand the biological relationships among modern peoples and likely points of origin and expansion of their ancestors.

"The details of modern human demography are complex and not well understood, so we have taken a cross-disciplinary approach to highlight broad patterns of population history in Africa," said Laura Scheinfeldt of the Department of Genetics at Penn's School of Medicine.

Patterns will continue to emerge as geneticists from Penn and elsewhere further analyze a mountain of genetic data acquired from these understudied populations.

The development of sequencing and genotyping technologies has advanced at an unprecedented rate and is allowing for the genotyping of millions of single-nucleotide polymorphisms and the sequencing of millions of nucleotides across populations.

This data, coupled with computational methods for inferring demographic parameters and testing demographic models for example, maximum likelihood and approximate Bayesian computation -- can refine our understanding of African past population histories.

"The incorporation of archaeological and linguistic data will be important for establishing testable hypotheses and elucidating the evolutionary processes or forces that have shaped the genomic landscape in Africa," Tishkoff said.

Analyzing patterns of population structure and ancestry in Africans illuminates the history of human populations and is critical for undertaking medical genomic studies on a global scale. Understanding ancestry not only provides insight into historical migration patterns and human origins and provides a greater understanding of evolutionary forces, it also allows researchers to examine disease susceptibility and pharmacogenic response and to develop personalized drugs and treatments, a frontier in public health.


Contact: Jordan Reese
University of Pennsylvania

Related medicine news :

1. Fat in Males, Females Differs Genetically, Mouse Study Shows
2. Scientists Map Genetic Codes of Human Microbes
3. Existence Genetics is Pioneering the Field of Predictive Medicine - Nexus Technologies Critical in Understanding and Preventing Deadly Disease
4. Mayo Clinic researchers find genetic secrets to common kidney cancer
5. Genetics of childrens brain tumor unlocked
6. Cancer genetics pioneer wins Margaret Kripke Legend Award
7. Lung Disease Can Be Genetic Even Without Family History
8. Lung disease may be genetic, despite lack of family history
9. Hayes, Inc. Releases Guide to BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genetic Testing
10. Mount Sinai School of Medicine Commencement Honors Leaders in Genetics and Global Health
11. Genetic Pattern May Predict Leukemia Relapse
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Genetic data added to archaeology and linguistics to get picture of African population history
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The American Society for Clinical ... of World AIDS Day 2015. On Nov. 30, ASCP shared its “Give a minute. ... World AIDS Day and the importance of getting tested for HIV. , ASCP has ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... According to ... Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumer Reports as supporting a “A Call for ... exposure limits. , The original Nov 2015 CR story titled, “Does Cell-Phone Radiation ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... While powdered supplements and ... wasted time. Fortunately, an inventor from Chesterfield, Va., has found an easy to keep ... the scoop used to measure powdered contents in a canister or other container handy ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Ill. (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Decision Support Solutions, announced at the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) annual ... have seen over 60% growth from 2014. Throughout 2015, the company has ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... its industry-leading suite of automated breast density assessment and enterprise analytics solutions, ... November 29-December 4, 2015 (South Hall booth #2377). Volpara’s quantitative breast imaging ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Belgium , Nov. 30, 2015   VolitionRx ... on developing blood-based diagnostic tests for a broad range of ... present at the LD Micro Conference, which will be held ... Attending from VolitionRx will be David Kratochvil ... , Vice President of Investor Relations. ® ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Israel , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... on acquiring and developing innovative therapies for ear, nose, ... Keith A. Katkin as chairman of the ... , chief executive officer for OticPharma, Ltd.  "Keith brings ... chairman, he will be able to share this experience ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... 29, 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG, AEX: ... at the 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual ... Place in Chicago . Visitors to ... company,s broad portfolio of integrated Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Informatics, ... clinical performance, improve workflow and create a superior patient ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: