Included in natural_selection theme

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Author: Yair Field
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Research area: genetics
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Detection of human adaptation during the past 2,000 years


Created on 7th May 2016

Yair Field; Evan A Boyle; Natalie Telis; Ziyue Gao; Kyle J Gaulton; David Golan; Loic Yengo; Ghislain Rocheleau; Philippe Froguel; Mark I McCarthy; Jonathan K Pritchard;


Detection of recent natural selection is a challenging problem in population genetics, as standard methods generally integrate over long timescales. Here we introduce the Singleton Density Score (SDS), a powerful measure to infer very recent changes in allele frequencies from contemporary genome sequences. When applied to data from the UK10K Project, SDS reflects allele frequency changes in the ancestors of modern Britons during the past 2,000 years. We see strong signals of selection at lactase and HLA, and in favor of blond hair and blue eyes. Turning to signals of polygenic adaptation we find, remarkably, that recent selection for increased height has driven allele frequency shifts across most of the genome. Moreover, we report suggestive new evidence for polygenic shifts affecting many other complex traits. Our results suggest that polygenic adaptation has played a pervasive role in shaping genotypic and phenotypic variation in modern humans.

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