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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 May 7;116(19):9312-9317. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1819467116. Epub 2019 Apr 15.

Comparing signals of natural selection between three Indigenous North American populations.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; awreynolds@ucdavis.edu.
2
Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712.
3
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
4
Maskoke, Gainesville, FL 32611.
5
School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
6
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Elton, LA 70532.
7
National Institute of Genomic Medicine, Delegación Tlalpan, 14610 México.
8
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611.
9
Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-7556.
10
Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611.
11
Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208.
12
Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1176.
13
Institute for Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-1176.

Abstract

While many studies have highlighted human adaptations to diverse environments worldwide, genomic studies of natural selection in Indigenous populations in the Americas have been absent from this literature until very recently. Since humans first entered the Americas some 20,000 years ago, they have settled in many new environments across the continent. This diversity of environments has placed variable selective pressures on the populations living in each region, but the effects of these pressures have not been extensively studied to date. To help fill this gap, we collected genome-wide data from three Indigenous North American populations from different geographic regions of the continent (Alaska, southeastern United States, and central Mexico). We identified signals of natural selection in each population and compared signals across populations to explore the differences in selective pressures among the three regions sampled. We find evidence of adaptation to cold and high-latitude environments in Alaska, while in the southeastern United States and central Mexico, pathogenic environments seem to have created important selective pressures. This study lays the foundation for additional functional and phenotypic work on possible adaptations to varied environments during the history of population diversification in the Americas.

KEYWORDS:

Alaskan Natives; Native Americans; human evolutionary genetics; natural selection; population genomics

PMID:
30988184
PMCID:
PMC6511053
[Available on 2019-10-15]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1819467116

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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