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Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 7;8:14238. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14238.

Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America.

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AncestryDNA, San Francisco, California 94107, USA.
AncestryDNA, Lehi, Utah 84043, USA.
Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
Department of Computational Biology, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.
W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Despite strides in characterizing human history from genetic polymorphism data, progress in identifying genetic signatures of recent demography has been limited. Here we identify very recent fine-scale population structure in North America from a network of over 500 million genetic (identity-by-descent, IBD) connections among 770,000 genotyped individuals of US origin. We detect densely connected clusters within the network and annotate these clusters using a database of over 20 million genealogical records. Recent population patterns captured by IBD clustering include immigrants such as Scandinavians and French Canadians; groups with continental admixture such as Puerto Ricans; settlers such as the Amish and Appalachians who experienced geographic or cultural isolation; and broad historical trends, including reduced north-south gene flow. Our results yield a detailed historical portrait of North America after European settlement and support substantial genetic heterogeneity in the United States beyond that uncovered by previous studies.

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