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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47765. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047765. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

North African populations carry the signature of admixture with Neandertals.

Author information

1
Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

One of the main findings derived from the analysis of the Neandertal genome was the evidence for admixture between Neandertals and non-African modern humans. An alternative scenario is that the ancestral population of non-Africans was closer to Neandertals than to Africans because of ancient population substructure. Thus, the study of North African populations is crucial for testing both hypotheses. We analyzed a total of 780,000 SNPs in 125 individuals representing seven different North African locations and searched for their ancestral/derived state in comparison to different human populations and Neandertals. We found that North African populations have a significant excess of derived alleles shared with Neandertals, when compared to sub-Saharan Africans. This excess is similar to that found in non-African humans, a fact that can be interpreted as a sign of Neandertal admixture. Furthermore, the Neandertal's genetic signal is higher in populations with a local, pre-Neolithic North African ancestry. Therefore, the detected ancient admixture is not due to recent Near Eastern or European migrations. Sub-Saharan populations are the only ones not affected by the admixture event with Neandertals.

PMID:
23082212
PMCID:
PMC3474783
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0047765
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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