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Why hunter-gatherer populations do not show signs of Pleistocene demographic expansions

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 1999, vol. 96, p. 10597–10602
Abstract The mitochondrial DNA diversity of 62 human population samples was examined for potential signals of population expansions. Stepwise expansion times were estimated by taking into account heterogeneity of mutation rates among sites. Assuming an mtDNA divergence rate of 33% per million years, most populations show signals of Pleistocene expansions at around 70,000 years (70 KY) ago in Africa and Asia, 55 KY ago in America, and 40 KY ago in Europe and the Middle East, whereas the traces of the oldest expansions are found in East Africa (110 KY ago for the Turkana). The genetic diversity of two groups of populations (most Amerindian populations and present-day hunter-gatherers) cannot be explained by a simple stepwise expansion model. A multivariate analysis of the genetic distances among 61 populations reveals that populations that did not undergo demographic expansions show increased genetic distances from other populations, confirming that the demography of the populations strongly affects observed genetic affinities. The absence of traces of Pleistocene expansions in present-day huntergatherers seems best explained by the occurrence of recent bottlenecks in those populations, implying a difference between Pleistocene ('1,800 KY to 10 KY ago) and Holocene (10 KY to present) hunter-gatherers demographies, a difference that occurred after, and probably in response to, the Neolithic expansions of the other populations.
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EXCOFFIER, Laurent Georges Louis, SCHNEIDER, Stefan. Why hunter-gatherer populations do not show signs of Pleistocene demographic expansions. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1999, vol. 96, p. 10597–10602. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:76254

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Deposited on : 2015-10-19

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