Polygenic adaptation and convergent evolution on growth and cardiac genetic pathways in African and Asian rainforest hunter-gatherers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Christina M BergeyGeorge H Perry

Abstract

Different human populations facing similar environmental challenges have sometimes evolved convergent biological adaptations, for example, hypoxia resistance at high altitudes and depigmented skin in northern latitudes on separate continents. The "pygmy" phenotype (small adult body size), characteristic of hunter-gatherer populations inhabiting both African and Asian tropical rainforests, is often highlighted as another case of convergent adaptation in humans. However, the degree to which phenotypic convergence in this polygenic trait is due to convergent versus population-specific genetic changes is unknown. To address this question, we analyzed high-coverage sequence data from the protein-coding portion of the genomes of two pairs of populations: Batwa rainforest hunter-gatherers and neighboring Bakiga agriculturalists from Uganda and Andamanese rainforest hunter-gatherers and Brahmin agriculturalists from India. We observed signatures of convergent positive selection between the rainforest hunter-gatherers across the set of genes with "growth factor binding" functions ([Formula: see text]). Unexpectedly, for the rainforest groups, we also observed convergent and population-specific signatures of positive selection in pathway...Continue Reading

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