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Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Aug 18;12(9):603-14. doi: 10.1038/nrg3029.

Learning about human population history from ancient and modern genomes.

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Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, D04103 Leipzig, Germany.


Genome-wide data, both from SNP arrays and from complete genome sequencing, are becoming increasingly abundant and are now even available from extinct hominins. These data are providing new insights into population history; in particular, when combined with model-based analytical approaches, genome-wide data allow direct testing of hypotheses about population history. For example, genome-wide data from both contemporary populations and extinct hominins strongly support a single dispersal of modern humans from Africa, followed by two archaic admixture events: one with Neanderthals somewhere outside Africa and a second with Denisovans that (so far) has only been detected in New Guinea. These new developments promise to reveal new stories about human population history, without having to resort to storytelling.

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