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Nat Genet. 2016 Sep;48(9):1066-70. doi: 10.1038/ng.3621. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

Genomic analysis of Andamanese provides insights into ancient human migration into Asia and adaptation.

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Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (UPF-CSIC), Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
Servei de Genòmica, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
BGI Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China.
Computational Biology, Target Sciences, GSK R&D, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, UK.
Department of Internal Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Departament de Genètica i de Microbiologia, Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.
National Institute of BioMedical Genomics, Kalyani, India.
Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


To shed light on the peopling of South Asia and the origins of the morphological adaptations found there, we analyzed whole-genome sequences from 10 Andamanese individuals and compared them with sequences for 60 individuals from mainland Indian populations with different ethnic histories and with publicly available data from other populations. We show that all Asian and Pacific populations share a single origin and expansion out of Africa, contradicting an earlier proposal of two independent waves of migration. We also show that populations from South and Southeast Asia harbor a small proportion of ancestry from an unknown extinct hominin, and this ancestry is absent from Europeans and East Asians. The footprints of adaptive selection in the genomes of the Andamanese show that the characteristic distinctive phenotypes of this population (including very short stature) do not reflect an ancient African origin but instead result from strong natural selection on genes related to human body size.

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