Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whole-genome sequencing of African hunter-gatherers reveals human genetic diversity

Date:
July 26, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Genome sequences of African hunter-gatherers from three different populations reveal insights into how humans have adapted to distinct environments over evolutionary history. By sequencing whole genomes of individuals within these groups, a team of scientists has substantially expanded knowledge about the scope of genetic diversity in humans.

These are western pygmies of Cameroon.
Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Tishkoff

Genome sequences of African hunter-gatherers from three different populations reveal insights into how humans have adapted to distinct environments over evolutionary history. By sequencing whole genomes of individuals within these groups, a team of scientists has substantially expanded knowledge about the scope of genetic diversity in humans, publishing their findings on July 26th in the journal Cell.

Related Articles


Africa is the ancestral homeland of all modern humans and contains the highest level of genetic diversity among all of the continents. "Even though African populations have played an important role in human evolutionary history, relatively little is known about variation in African genomes," says senior study author Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania. Until now, scientists have analyzed only six African genomes that had been sequenced at high coverage, which involves sequencing regions numerous times to achieve high accuracy.

To gain a deeper understanding of human genetic diversity and the genetic basis of adaptation to diverse environments, Tishkoff and her team sequenced the whole genomes of 15 African hunter-gatherers from three different populations: forest-dwelling, short-statured Pygmies from Cameroon, and click-speaking Hadza and Sandawe individuals from Tanzania. The researchers identified more than 13 million variations in DNA sequences in these genomes, and more than 3 million of these were absent from existing databases. "This is the first population genomics analysis using high-coverage whole-genome sequencing," Tishkoff says. "Many of the variants we found would not have been identified without this kind of analysis."

The study also revealed genetic signs of natural selection. Compared with agricultural and pastoral populations, the hunter-gatherer populations showed distinct DNA patterns in genes involved in immunity, metabolism, smell, and taste, suggesting that the populations adapted to specific pathogens, food sources, and other local environmental factors. Moreover, the researchers identified several candidate genes that could be responsible for short stature in Pygmies. In addition, they found evidence of ancient interbreeding between the ancestors of modern Africans and another hominin lineage. "Our study has not only vastly increased knowledge about human genomic variation, but also shed light on human evolutionary history and the origins of traits that make each of us unique," Tishkoff says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joseph Lachance, Benjamin Vernot, ClaraC. Elbers, Bart Ferwerda, Alain Froment, Jean-Marie Bodo, Godfrey Lema, Wenqing Fu, ThomasB. Nyambo, TimothyR. Rebbeck, Kun Zhang, JoshuaM. Akey, SarahA. Tishkoff. Evolutionary History and Adaptation from High-Coverage Whole-Genome Sequences of Diverse African Hunter-Gatherers. Cell, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.07.009

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Whole-genome sequencing of African hunter-gatherers reveals human genetic diversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726122114.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, July 26). Whole-genome sequencing of African hunter-gatherers reveals human genetic diversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726122114.htm
Cell Press. "Whole-genome sequencing of African hunter-gatherers reveals human genetic diversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726122114.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) Media is calling it an "underwater Pompeii." Researchers have found ruins off the coast of Delos. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) Faces in an area of mosaics is the latest find by archaeologists at a recently discovered tomb dating back to fourth century BC and the time of Alexander the Great in Greece. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) The United States has returns over 500 vases, bowls, axes, and other ancient artifacts mostly from the Ban Chiang archaeological site which were illegally looted from Thailand decades ago. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Genomic Study of Africa's Hunter-Gatherers Elucidates Human Variation and Ancient Interbreeding

July 26, 2012 Geneticists have analyzed the fully sequenced genomes of 15 Africans belonging to three different hunter-gatherer groups and decipher some of what these genetic codes have to say about human ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins