Oct 15, 2015

The Great Migration and African-American genomic diversity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Soheil BaharianSimon Gravel

Abstract

Genetic studies of African-Americans identify functional variants, elucidate historical and genealogical mysteries, and reveal basic biology. However, African-Americans have been under-represented in genetic studies, and little is known about nation-wide patterns of genomic diversity in the population. Here, we present a comprehensive assessment of African-American genomic diversity using genotype data from nationally and regionally representative cohorts. We find higher African ancestry in southern United States compared to the North and West. We show that relatedness patterns track north- and west-bound routes followed during the Great Migration, suggesting that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. Rare genetic traits among African-Americans can therefore be shared over long geographic distances along the Great Migration routes, yet their distribution over short distances remains highly structured. This study clarifies the role of re- cent demography in shaping African-American genomic diversity.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Patterns
Genome
West (Direction)
Evaluation
North
Genomics
African American
South
Route

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