Investigating population continuity with ancient DNA under a spatially explicit simulation framework

BMC Genetics
Nuno Miguel SilvaMathias Currat


Recent advances in sequencing technologies have allowed for the retrieval of ancient DNA data (aDNA) from skeletal remains, providing direct genetic snapshots from diverse periods of human prehistory. Comparing samples taken in the same region but at different times, hereafter called "serial samples", may indicate whether there is continuity in the peopling history of that area or whether an immigration of a genetically different population has occurred between the two sampling times. However, the exploration of genetic relationships between serial samples generally ignores their geographical locations and the spatiotemporal dynamics of populations. Here, we present a new coalescent-based, spatially explicit modelling approach to investigate population continuity using aDNA, which includes two fundamental elements neglected in previous methods: population structure and migration. The approach also considers the extensive temporal and geographical variance that is commonly found in aDNA population samples. We first showed that our spatially explicit approach is more conservative than the previous (panmictic) approach and should be preferred to test for population continuity, especially when small and isolated populations are con...Continue Reading


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Dec 13, 2018·Heredity·Diego Ortega-Del Vecchyo, Montgomery Slatkin
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