Ancient DNA and Dystruct

There’s a new preprint, Inference of population structure from ancient DNA, which uses explicit demographic models to make inferences about ancestry. I haven’t dug into the guts of the math, but, the outputs are quite interesting.

What seems to be obvious is that Western Eurasia has a much richer set of models to choose from than elsewhere. European, Middle Eastern and South Asian populations exhibit the greatest difference between Dystruct and Admixture.

7 thoughts on “Ancient DNA and Dystruct

  1. John Massey: Oceania is geographical term. Most of the peoples of that area derive from sea borne migrations out of Taiwan and Malaysia. The Australian Aborigines were, AFAIK, geographically isolated from the rest of the world from the time they arrived in Australia (45 kybp) until the 19th Century. I would think they would have a unique (one is tempted to say quite unique) genetic profile if for no other reason than bottlenecks and drift.

  2. Razib. The article is about New Guinea. Have there been studies on Australian Aborigines? The Wikipedia article says:

    “Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands who migrated from Africa to Asia around 70,000 years ago and arrived in Australia around 50,000 years ago. They are believed to be among the earliest human migrations out of Africa. Although they likely migrated to Australia through Southeast Asia they are not demonstrably related to any known Asian or Polynesian population. There is evidence of genetic and linguistic interchange between Australians in the far north and the Austronesian peoples of modern-day New Guinea and the islands, but this may be the result of recent trade and intermarriage.”

  3. Walter, I’m not a moron. Geneticists and direct to consumer Genomics companies (at least 23andMe) use Oceania to denote specifically those populations shown in the reference in Razib’s 2010 piece: Aboriginal, Papuan and Melanesian. Also, I have been following the topic for quite a while – ‘Sandgroper’ who commented on Razib’s 2010 piece was me.

    Breakthrough studies of Aboriginal DNA (including by Eske Willerslev) have not yet been followed up with country-wide sampling to assess diversity, as far as I know. I would be very interested in this, but it’s highly problematic, for political reasons, and because many people today who identify as Aboriginal are highly admixed and many of those are not even physically recognizable as having Aboriginal ancestry (problem is the legal definition of who is entitled to claim Aboriginal identity – a genetic definition was specifically rejected for political reasons). This also messes with data on health issues, life expectancy, etc. of Aboriginal people – the minority of people with high % Aboriginal ancestry living in remote settlements have awful health outcomes, not helped by lack of access to modern health care, plus all of the usual assortment of substance abuse, lack of modern sanitation and high incidence of Type 2 Diabetes that you would expect in people who really very recently were HGs now consuming modern agricultural diet.

    Something else that seems somewhat problematic – a fairly recent archaeological discovery indicates earliest known evidence of humans in northern Australia was 60,000 – 65,000 years ago. Dating seems reliable, but that seems very early for an OOA dispersal, but other much earlier evidence of modern humans outside of sSA has been emerging, obviously.

    Mungo Man seems less problematic – current consensus is about 40,000 years old.

    If you are interested, the 2016 paper by Willerslev’s team is here:

    A 2017 paper on the origin of dingoes is here:

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