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PLoS Genet. 2016 May 27;12(5):e1006059. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006059. eCollection 2016 May.

The Great Migration and African-American Genomic Diversity.

Author information

1
Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
2
McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
3
School of Computer Science, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
4
Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.
5
Division of Epidemiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
6
International Epidemiology Institute, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America.
7
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States of America.
8
The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States of America.
9
The Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States of America.
10
The Center for Statistical Genetics, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, United States of America.
11
Department of Genetics, Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States of America.
12
Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.

Abstract

We present a comprehensive assessment of genomic diversity in the African-American population by studying three genotyped cohorts comprising 3,726 African-Americans from across the United States that provide a representative description of the population across all US states and socioeconomic status. An estimated 82.1% of ancestors to African-Americans lived in Africa prior to the advent of transatlantic travel, 16.7% in Europe, and 1.2% in the Americas, with increased African ancestry in the southern United States compared to the North and West. Combining demographic models of ancestry and those of relatedness suggests that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. We find that recent migrations also caused a strong increase in genetic relatedness among geographically distant African-Americans. Long-range relatedness among African-Americans and between African-Americans and European-Americans thus track north- and west-bound migration routes followed during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. By contrast, short-range relatedness patterns suggest comparable mobility of ∼15-16km per generation for African-Americans and European-Americans, as estimated using a novel analytical model of isolation-by-distance.

PMID:
27232753
PMCID:
PMC4883799
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1006059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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