New evidence for archaic admixture in Eurasians

Nature news reports "Neanderthals may have interbred with humans":
Using projected rates of genetic mutation and data from the fossil record, the researchers suggest that the interbreeding happened about 60,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean and, more recently, about 45,000 years ago in eastern Asia. Those two events happened after the first H. sapiens had migrated out of Africa, says Long. His group didn't find evidence of interbreeding in the genomes of the modern African people included in the study.

The researchers suggest that the population from the first interbreeding went on to migrate to Europe, Asia and North America. Then the second interbreeding with an archaic population in eastern Asia further altered the genetic makeup of people in Oceania.
Here is the abstract from AAPA 2010 (continue reading):

Genetic analyses reveal a history of serial founder effects, admixture between long-separated founding populations in Oceania, and interbreeding with archaic humans.

Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.

Genetic anthropologists continue to debate whether human neutral genetic variation primarily reflects a continuum of demes connected by local gene flow or colonization and serial founder effects. A second unresolved issue concerns the genetic contribution of archaic species to the modern human gene pool. Some studies suggest that this contribution was substantial and that it played an important role in human adaptation. These issues remain unresolved because of inadequacies and biases in datasets, problems in statistical methodology, and the failure to recognize that different evolutionary processes may produce similar outcomes. This study redresses these limitations by analyzing gene identity within and between populations in a dataset comprised of 614 STRs assayed in 1,983 people from 99 widespread populations. Our strategy is to fit hierarchical models to these data and examine residual deviations from the models. Each model involves nesting smaller units such as populations into larger units such as continental regions. It is possible to restate many of these models as either expansions or reductions of each other and thereby identify aspects of population structure that have had a major impact on the overall pattern of diversity. The strong fit of a model estimated using the Neighbor Joining algorithm indicates that human genetic diversity primarily reflects a history of successive founder effects associated with our exodus from Africa, not a continuum of demes connected by gene flow. Residual deviations from the model suggest: 1) the genomes of Oceanic peoples are the product of two independent waves of migration to the region and admixture, and 2) genetic exchange occurred between archaic and modern humans after their initial divergence.

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