L Luca Cavalli-Sforza

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France

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Publications (51)553.67 Total impact

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a neuropeptide abundantly expressed in the central nervous system and involved in regulating neurogenesis and neuronal signal transduction. The amino acid sequence of PACAP is extremely conserved across vertebrate species, indicating a strong functional constraint during the course of evolution. However, through comparative sequence analysis, we demonstrated that the PACAP precursor gene underwent an accelerated evolution in the human lineage since the divergence from chimpanzees, and the amino acid substitution rate in humans is at least seven times faster than that in other mammal species resulting from strong Darwinian positive selection. Eleven human-specific amino acid changes were identified in the PACAP precursors, which are conserved from murine to African apes. Protein structural analysis suggested that a putative novel neuropeptide might have originated during human evolution and functioned in the human brain. Our data suggested that the PACAP precursor gene underwent adaptive changes during human origin and may have contributed to the formation of human cognition.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2005 · Genetics
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    L Luca Cavalli-Sforza
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Human Genome Project, in accomplishing its goal of sequencing one human genome, heralded a new era of research, a component of which is the systematic study of human genetic variation. Despite delays, the Human Genome Diversity Project has started to make progress in understanding the patterns of this variation and its causes, and also promises to provide important information for biomedical studies.
    Preview · Article · May 2005 · Nature Reviews Genetics
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    Marcel Ovidiu Vlad · L Luca Cavalli-Sforza · John Ross
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We consider a system made up of different physical, chemical, or biological species undergoing replication, transformation, and disappearance processes, as well as slow diffusive motion. We show that for systems with net growth the balance between kinetics and the diffusion process may lead to fast, enhanced hydrodynamic transport. Solitary waves in the system, if they exist, stabilize the enhanced transport, leading to constant transport speeds. We apply our theory to the problem of determining the original mutation position from the current geographic distribution of a given mutation. We show that our theory is in good agreement with a simulation study of the mutation problem presented in the literature. It is possible to evaluate migratory trajectories from measured data related to the current distribution of mutations in human populations.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2004 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
    No preview · Article · May 2004 · Nature
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phylogeography of Y-chromosome haplogroups E (Hg E) and J (Hg J) was investigated in >2400 subjects from 29 populations, mainly from Europe and the Mediterranean area but also from Africa and Asia. The observed 501 Hg E and 445 Hg J samples were subtyped using 36 binary markers and eight microsatellite loci. Spatial patterns reveal that (1). the two sister clades, J-M267 and J-M172, are distributed differentially within the Near East, North Africa, and Europe; (2). J-M267 was spread by two temporally distinct migratory episodes, the most recent one probably associated with the diffusion of Arab people; (3). E-M81 is typical of Berbers, and its presence in Iberia and Sicily is due to recent gene flow from North Africa; (4). J-M172(xM12) distribution is consistent with a Levantine/Anatolian dispersal route to southeastern Europe and may reflect the spread of Anatolian farmers; and (5). E-M78 (for which microsatellite data suggest an eastern African origin) and, to a lesser extent, J-M12(M102) lineages would trace the subsequent diffusion of people from the southern Balkans to the west. A 7%-22% contribution of Y chromosomes from Greece to southern Italy was estimated by admixture analysis.
    Full-text · Article · May 2004 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    Joaquim  Fort  · Toni  Pujol  · Luigi Luca  Cavalli-Sforza 
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The wave-of-advance model has been previously applied to Neolithic human range expansions, yielding good agreement to the speeds inferred from archaeological data. Here, we apply it for the first time to Palaeolithic human expansions by using reproduction and mobility parameters appropriate to hunter-gatherers (instead of the corresponding values for preindustrial farmers). The order of magnitude of the predicted speed is in agreement with that implied by the AMS radiocarbon dating of the lateglacial human recolonization of northern Europe (14.2–12.5 kyr BP). We argue that this makes it implausible for climate change to have limited the speed of the recolonization front. It is pointed out that a similar value for the speed can be tentatively inferred from the archaeological data on the expansion of modern humans into the Levant and Europe (42–36 kyr BP).
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2004 · Cambridge Archaeological Journal
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    Christopher A Edmonds · Anita S Lillie · L Luca Cavalli-Sforza
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to infer the time and place of origin of a mutation can be very useful when reconstructing the evolutionary histories of populations and species. We use forward computer simulations of population growth, migration, and mutation in an analysis of an expanding population with a wave front that advances at a constant slow rate. A pronounced founder effect can be observed among mutations arising in this wave front where extreme population bottlenecks arise and are followed by major population growth. A fraction of mutations travel with the wave front and generate mutant populations that are on average much larger than those that remain stationary. Analysis of the diffusion of these mutants makes it possible to reconstruct migratory trajectories during population expansions, thus helping us better understand observed patterns in the evolution of species such as modern humans. Examination of some historical data supports our model.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2004 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of 89 biallelic polymorphisms in 523 Turkish Y chromosomes revealed 52 distinct haplotypes with considerable haplogroup substructure, as exemplified by their respective levels of accumulated diversity at ten short tandem repeat (STR) loci. The major components (haplogroups E3b, G, J, I, L, N, K2, and R1; 94.1%) are shared with European and neighboring Near Eastern populations and contrast with only a minor share of haplogroups related to Central Asian (C, Q and O; 3.4%), Indian (H, R2; 1.5%) and African (A, E3*, E3a; 1%) affinity. The expansion times for 20 haplogroup assemblages was estimated from associated STR diversity. This comprehensive characterization of Y-chromosome heritage addresses many multifaceted aspects of Anatolian prehistory, including: (1) the most frequent haplogroup, J, splits into two sub-clades, one of which (J2) shows decreasing variances with increasing latitude, compatible with a northward expansion; (2) haplogroups G1 and L show affinities with south Caucasus populations in their geographic distribution as well as STR motifs; (3) frequency of haplogroup I, which originated in Europe, declines with increasing longitude, indicating gene flow arriving from Europe; (4) conversely, haplogroup G2 radiates towards Europe; (5) haplogroup E3b3 displays a latitudinal correlation with decreasing frequency northward; (6) haplogroup R1b3 emanates from Turkey towards Southeast Europe and Caucasia and; (7) high resolution SNP analysis provides evidence of a detectable yet weak signal (<9%) of recent paternal gene flow from Central Asia. The variety of Turkish haplotypes is witness to Turkey being both an important source and recipient of gene flow.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2004 · Human Genetics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Allelic frequencies of 182 tri- and tetra-autosomal microsatellites were used to examine phylogenetic relationships among 19 extant human populations. In particular, because the languages of the Basques and Hunza Burusho have been suggested to have an ancient relationship, this study sought to explore the genetic relationship between these two major language isolate populations and to compare them with other human populations. The work presented here shows that the microsatellite allelic diversity and the number of unique alleles were highest in sub-Saharan Africans. Neighbor-joining trees based on genetic distances and principal component analyses separated populations from different continents, and are consistent with an African origin for modern humans. For the first time, with biparentally transmitted markers, the microsatellite tree also shows that the San are the first branch of the human tree before the branch leading to all other Africans. In contrast to an earlier study, these results provided no evidence of a genetic relationship among the two language isolate groups. Genetic relationships, as ascertained by these microsatellites, are dictated primarily by geographic proximity rather than by remote linguistic origin, Mantel test, R(0) = 0.484, g = 3.802 (critical g value = 1.645; P = 0.05).
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2003 · American Journal of Physical Anthropology
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    L Luca Cavalli-Sforza · Marcus W Feldman
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The past decade of advances in molecular genetic technology has heralded a new era for all evolutionary studies, but especially the science of human evolution. Data on various kinds of DNA variation in human populations have rapidly accumulated. There is increasing recognition of the importance of this variation for medicine and developmental biology and for understanding the history of our species. Haploid markers from mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome have proven invaluable for generating a standard model for evolution of modern humans. Conclusions from earlier research on protein polymorphisms have been generally supported by more sophisticated DNA analysis. Co-evolution of genes with language and some slowly evolving cultural traits, together with the genetic evolution of commensals and parasites that have accompanied modern humans in their expansion from Africa to the other continents, supports and supplements the standard model of genetic evolution. The advances in our understanding of the evolutionary history of humans attests to the advantages of multidisciplinary research.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2003 · Nature Genetics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic composition of the Norwegian population was investigated by analysing polymorphisms associated with both the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome loci in a sample of 74 Norwegian males. The combination of their uniparental mode of inheritance and the absence of recombination make these haplotypic stretches of DNA the tools of choice in evaluating the different components of a population's gene pool. The sequencing of the Dloop and two diagnostic RFLPs (AluI 7025 and HinfI at 12 308) allowed us to classify the mtDNA molecules in 10 previously described groups. As for the Y chromosome the combination of binary markers and microsatellites allowed us to compare our results to those obtained elsewhere in Europe. Both mtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms showed a noticeable genetic affinity between Norwegians and central Europeans, especially Germans. When the phylogeographic analysis of the Y chromosome haplotypes was attempted some interesting clues on the peopling of Norway emerged. Although Y chromosome binary and microsatellite data indicate that 80% of the haplotypes are closely related to Central and western Europeans, the remainder share a unique binary marker (M17) common in eastern Europeans with informative microsatellite haplotypes suggesting a different demographic history. Other minor genetic influences on the Norwegian population from Uralic speakers and Mediterranean populations were also highlighted.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2002 · European Journal of HumanGenetics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We study a general class of nonlinear macroscopic evolution equations with "transport" and "reaction" terms which describe the dynamics of a species of moving individuals (atoms, molecules, quasiparticles, organisms, etc.). We consider that two types of individuals exist, "not marked" and "marked," respectively. We assume that the concentrations of both types of individuals are measurable and that they obey a neutrality condition, that is, the kinetic and transport properties of the "not marked" and "marked" individuals are identical. We suggest a response experiment, which consists in varying the fraction of "marked" individuals with the preservation of total fluxes, and show that the response of the system can be represented by a linear superposition law even though the underlying dynamics of the system is in general highly nonlinear. The linear response law is valid even for large perturbations and is not the result of a linearization procedure but rather a necessary consequence of the neutrality condition. First, we apply the response theorem to chemical kinetics, where the "marked species" is a molecule labeled with a radioactive isotope and there is no kinetic isotope effect. The susceptibility function of the response law can be related to the reaction mechanism of the process. Secondly we study the geographical distribution of the nonrecurrent, nonreversible neutral mutations of the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome from human populations and show that the fraction of mutants at a given point in space and time obeys a linear response law of the type introduced in this paper. The theory may be used for evaluating the geographic position and the moment in time where and when a mutation originated.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2002 · Physical Review E
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The variation of 77 biallelic sites located in the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome was examined in 608 male subjects from 22 African populations. This survey revealed a total of 37 binary haplotypes, which were combined with microsatellite polymorphism data to evaluate internal diversities and to estimate coalescence ages of the binary haplotypes. The majority of binary haplotypes showed a nonuniform distribution across the continent. Analysis of molecular variance detected a high level of interpopulation diversity (PhiST=0.342), which appears to be partially related to the geography (PhiCT=0.230). In sub-Saharan Africa, the recent spread of a set of haplotypes partially erased pre-existing diversity, but a high level of population (PhiST=0.332) and geographic (PhiCT=0.179) structuring persists. Correspondence analysis shows that three main clusters of populations can be identified: northern, eastern, and sub-Saharan Africans. Among the latter, the Khoisan, the Pygmies, and the northern Cameroonians are clearly distinct from a tight cluster formed by the Niger-Congo-speaking populations from western, central western, and southern Africa. Phylogeographic analyses suggest that a large component of the present Khoisan gene pool is eastern African in origin and that Asia was the source of a back migration to sub-Saharan Africa. Haplogroup IX Y chromosomes appear to have been involved in such a migration, the traces of which can now be observed mostly in northern Cameroon.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2002 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    Full-text · Article · May 2002 · Science
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic structure of 126 Ethiopian and 139 Senegalese Y chromosomes was investigated by a hierarchical analysis of 30 diagnostic biallelic markers selected from the worldwide Y-chromosome genealogy. The present study reveals that (1) only the Ethiopians share with the Khoisan the deepest human Y-chromosome clades (the African-specific Groups I and II) but with a repertoire of very different haplotypes; (2) most of the Ethiopians and virtually all the Senegalese belong to Group III, whose precursor is believed to be involved in the first migration out of Africa; and (3) the Ethiopian Y chromosomes that fall into Groups VI, VIII, and IX may be explained by back migrations from Asia. The first observation confirms the ancestral affinity between the Ethiopians and the Khoisan, which has previously been suggested by both archaeological and genetic findings.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2002 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
  • Neil Risch · Alberto Piazza · L Luca Cavalli-Sforza
    No preview · Article · Feb 2002 · Nature
  • No preview · Article · Jan 2002
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have analyzed a sample of 40 centenarians and 116 young controls from Sardinia, with a set of new Y chromosome binary markers, to evaluate if Y chromosome genes are involved in the high prevalence of males among centenarian Sardinians (1/2 vs. 1/4 in other populations studied). The results indicate that none of the seven lineages that account for >97% of the Y chromosome diversity in Sardinia provide an advantage with respect to the extreme longevity. However, our results, although based on the male-specific Y chromosome polymorphisms, give a clear profile of the pattern of genetic variability in Sardinia. Indeed they indicate that the Sardinian population had two main founder populations that have evolved in isolation for at least the last 5,000 years. These findings set the stage for future studies on longevity and other complex traits in Sardinia.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2001 · Human Heredity
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An assessment of 28 pertinent binary genetic markers on the non-recombining portion of the Y chromosome (NRY) in New Zealand Maori and other relevant populations has revealed a diverse genetic paternal heritage of extant Maori. A maximum parsimony phylogeny was constructed in which nine of the 25 possible binary haplotypes were observed. Although ∼40% of the samples have haplotypes of unequivocal European origin, an equivalent number of samples have a single binary haplotype that is also observed in Indonesia and New Guinea, indicative of common indigenous Melanesian ancestry. The balance of the lineages has either typical East Asian signatures or alternative compositions consistent with their affinity to Melanesia or New Guinea. Molecular analysis of mtDNA variation confirms the presence of a single predominant characteristic Southeast Asian (9-bp deletion in the Region V) lineage. The Y-chromosome results support a pattern of complex interrelationships between Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, in contrast to mtDNA and linguistic data, which uphold a rapid and homogeneous Austronesian expansion. The Y-chromosome data highlight a distinctive gender-modulated pattern of differential gene flow in the history of Polynesia. Hum Mutat 17:271–280, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2001 · Human Mutation
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have conducted a genome screen of autism, by linkage analysis in an initial set of 90 multiplex sibships, with parents, containing 97 independent affected sib pairs (ASPs), with follow-up in 49 additional multiplex sibships, containing 50 ASPs. In total, 519 markers were genotyped, including 362 for the initial screen, and an additional 157 were genotyped in the follow-up. As a control, we also included in the analysis unaffected sibs, which provided 51 discordant sib pairs (DSPs) for the initial screen and 29 for the follow-up. In the initial phase of the work, we observed increased identity by descent (IBD) in the ASPs (sharing of 51.6%) compared with the DSPs (sharing of 50.8%). The excess sharing in the ASPs could not be attributed to the effect of a small number of loci but, rather, was due to the modest increase in the entire distribution of IBD. These results are most compatible with a model specifying a large number of loci (perhaps >/=15) and are less compatible with models specifying </=10 loci. The largest LOD score obtained in the initial scan was for a marker on chromosome 1p; this region also showed positive sharing in the replication family set, giving a maximum multipoint LOD score of 2.15 for both sets combined. Thus, there may exist a gene of moderate effect in this region. We had only modestly positive or negative linkage evidence in candidate regions identified in other studies. Our results suggest that positional cloning of susceptibility loci by linkage analysis may be a formidable task and that other approaches may be necessary.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 1999 · The American Journal of Human Genetics

Publication Stats

9k Citations
553.67 Total Impact Points


  • 2010
    • Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 1990-2009
    • Stanford University
      • • Department of Genetics
      • • Department of Medicine
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 1998-2008
    • Stanford Medicine
      • Department of Genetics
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 2002
    • Fondation Jean Dausset (CEPH)
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • University of Pavia
      • Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Lazzaro Spallanzani"
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy