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Scientific article
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Computer simulation of human leukocyte antigen genes supports two main routes of colonization by human populations in East Asia

Published inBMC evolutionary biology, vol. 15, no. 1
Publication date2015
Abstract

Recent genetic studies have suggested that the colonization of East Asia by modern humans was more complex than a single origin from the South, and that a genetic contribution via a Northern route was probably quite substantial. Here we use a spatially-explicit computer simulation approach to investigate the human migration hypotheses of this region based on one-route or two-route models. We test the likelihood of each scenario by using Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) - A, -B, and - DRB1 genetic data of East Asian populations, with both selective and demographic parameters considered. The posterior distribution of each parameter is estimated by an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) approach. Our results strongly support a model with two main routes of colonization of East Asia on both sides of the Himalayas, with distinct demographic histories in Northern and Southern populations, characterized by more isolation in the South. In East Asia, gene flow between populations originating from the two routes probably existed until a remote prehistoric period, explaining the continuous pattern of genetic variation currently observed along the latitude. A significant although dissimilar level of balancing selection acting on the three HLA loci is detected, but its effect on the local genetic patterns appears to be minor compared to those of past demographic events.

Keywords
  • East Asia
  • Human peopling history
  • HLA
  • Computer simulation
  • Approximate Bayesian computation
  • Balancing selection
Funding
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 31003A-144180, 31003A-127465
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 31003A-112651, 31003A-156853
Citation (ISO format)
DI, Da, SANCHEZ-MAZAS, Alicia, CURRAT, Mathias. Computer simulation of human leukocyte antigen genes supports two main routes of colonization by human populations in East Asia. In: BMC evolutionary biology, 2015, vol. 15, n° 1. doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0512-0
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Article (Published version)
accessLevelPublic
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal1471-2148
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