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    ABSTRACT: We examine the distribution and structure of human genetic diversity for 710 individuals representing 31 populations from Africa, East Asia, Europe, and India using 100 Alu insertion polymorphisms from all 22 autosomes. Alu diversity is highest in Africans (0.349) and lowest in Europeans (0.297). Alu insertion frequency is lowest in Africans (0.463) and higher in Indians (0.544), E. Asians (0.557), and Europeans (0.559). Large genetic distances are observed among African populations and between African and non-African populations. The root of a neighbor-joining network is located closest to the African populations. These findings are consistent with an African origin of modern humans and with a bottleneck effect in the human populations that left Africa to colonize the rest of the world. Genetic distances among all pairs of populations show a significant product-moment correlation with geographic distances (r = 0.69, P < 0.00001). F(ST), the proportion of genetic diversity attributable to population subdivision is 0.141 for Africans/E. Asians/Europeans, 0.047 for E. Asians/Indians/Europeans, and 0.090 for all 31 populations. Resampling analyses show that approximately 50 Alu polymorphisms are sufficient to obtain accurate and reliable genetic distance estimates. These analyses also demonstrate that markers with higher F(ST) values have greater resolving power and produce more consistent genetic distance estimates.
    Genome Research 07/2003; 13(7):1607-18. · 13.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Insertion of transposable elements is a major cause of genomic expansion in eukaryotes. Less is understood, however, about mechanisms underlying contraction of genomes. In this study, we show that retroelements can, in rare cases, be precisely deleted from primate genomes, most likely via recombination between 10- to 20-bp target site duplications (TSDs) flanking the retroelement. The deleted loci are indistinguishable from pre-integration sites, effectively reversing the insertion. Through human-chimpanzee-Rhesus monkey genomic comparisons, we estimate that 0.5%-1% of apparent retroelement "insertions" distinguishing humans and chimpanzees actually represent deletions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that 19% of genomic deletions of 200-500 bp that have occurred since the human-chimpanzee divergence are associated with flanking identical repeats of at least 10 bp. A large number of deletions internal to Alu elements were also found flanked by homologies. These results suggest that illegitimate recombination between short direct repeats has played a significant role in human genome evolution. Moreover, this study lends perspective to the view that insertions of retroelements represent unidirectional genetic events.
    Genome Research 10/2005; 15(9):1243-9. · 13.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied human population structure using genotypes at 377 autosomal microsatellite loci in 1056 individuals from 52 populations. Within-population differences among individuals account for 93 to 95% of genetic variation; differences among major groups constitute only 3 to 5%. Nevertheless, without using prior information about the origins of individuals, we identified six main genetic clusters, five of which correspond to major geographic regions, and subclusters that often correspond to individual populations. General agreement of genetic and predefined populations suggests that self-reported ancestry can facilitate assessments of epidemiological risks but does not obviate the need to use genetic information in genetic association studies.
    Science 01/2003; 298(5602):2381-5. · 31.48 Impact Factor