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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 17;103(3):820-4. Epub 2006 Jan 9.

Global genetic positioning: evidence for early human population centers in coastal habitats.

Author information

  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom. w.amos@zoo.cam.ac.uk


For an alternative perspective on relationships among human populations, we combined genetic and geographic information, using allele frequency gradients to place populations and individuals on the globe. Reanalyzing published data on 51 worldwide populations [Rosenberg, N. A., Pritchard, J. K., Weber, J. L., Cann, H. M., Kidd, K. K., Zhivitovsky, L. A. & Feldman, M. W. (2002) Science 298, 2381-2385] reveals five geographic clusters lying in plausible sites either of early agricultural innovation or on ancient migration routes. Also, the inferred sites show significant association with coastlines, suggesting that most early humans lived near large bodies of water. Our approach is flexible, and developments should prove useful both for exploring historical demography and for the identification of likely origin for unknown forensic samples.

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