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Genetics. 2000 Mar;154(3):1271-9.

Detecting ancient admixture in humans using sequence polymorphism data.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


A debate of long-standing interest in human evolution centers around whether archaic human populations (such as the Neanderthals) have contributed to the modern gene pool. A model of ancient population structure with recent mixing is introduced, and it is determined how much information (i.e., sequence data from how many unlinked nuclear loci) would be necessary to distinguish between different demographic scenarios. It is found that approximately 50-100 loci are necessary if plausible parameter estimates are used. There are not enough data available at the present to support either the "single origin" or the "multiregional" model of modern human evolution. However, this information should be available in a few years.

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