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PLoS Genet. 2012 Aug;8(8):e1002886. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002886. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

A quantitative comparison of the similarity between genes and geography in worldwide human populations.

Author information

1
Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. chaolong@umich.edu

Abstract

Multivariate statistical techniques such as principal components analysis (PCA) and multidimensional scaling (MDS) have been widely used to summarize the structure of human genetic variation, often in easily visualized two-dimensional maps. Many recent studies have reported similarity between geographic maps of population locations and MDS or PCA maps of genetic variation inferred from single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). However, this similarity has been evident primarily in a qualitative sense; and, because different multivariate techniques and marker sets have been used in different studies, it has not been possible to formally compare genetic variation datasets in terms of their levels of similarity with geography. In this study, using genome-wide SNP data from 128 populations worldwide, we perform a systematic analysis to quantitatively evaluate the similarity of genes and geography in different geographic regions. For each of a series of regions, we apply a Procrustes analysis approach to find an optimal transformation that maximizes the similarity between PCA maps of genetic variation and geographic maps of population locations. We consider examples in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, East Asia, and Central/South Asia, as well as in a worldwide sample, finding that significant similarity between genes and geography exists in general at different geographic levels. The similarity is highest in our examples for Asia and, once highly distinctive populations have been removed, Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results provide a quantitative assessment of the geographic structure of human genetic variation worldwide, supporting the view that geography plays a strong role in giving rise to human population structure.

PMID:
22927824
PMCID:
PMC3426559
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1002886
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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