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Estimating the timing of multiple admixture pulses during local ancestry inference.

By Paloma Medina, Bryan Thornlow, Rasmus Nielsen, Russell Corbett-Detig

Posted 08 May 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/314617 (published DOI: 10.1534/genetics.118.301411)

Admixture, the mixing of genetically distinct populations, is increasingly recognized as a fundamental biological process. One major goal of admixture analyses is to estimate the timing of admixture events. Whereas most methods today can only detect the most recent admixture event, here we present coalescent theory and associated software that can be used to estimate the timing of multiple admixture events in an admixed population. We extensively validate this approach and evaluate the conditions under which it can succesfully distinguish one from two-pulse admixture models. We apply our approach to real and simulated data of Drosophila melanogaster. We find evidence of a single very recent pulse of cosmopolitan ancestry contributing to African populations as well as evidence for more ancient admixture among genetically differentiated populations in sub-Saharan Africa. These results suggest our method can quantify complex admixture histories involving genetic material introduced by multiple discrete admixture pulses. The new method facilitates the exploration of admixture and its contribution to adaptation, ecological divergence, and speciation.

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