Review Article | Published:

Tracing the peopling of the world through genomics

Nature volume 541, pages 302310 (19 January 2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Advances in the sequencing and the analysis of the genomes of both modern and ancient peoples have facilitated a number of breakthroughs in our understanding of human evolutionary history. These include the discovery of interbreeding between anatomically modern humans and extinct hominins; the development of an increasingly detailed description of the complex dispersal of modern humans out of Africa and their population expansion worldwide; and the characterization of many of the genetic adaptions of humans to local environmental conditions. Our interpretation of the evolutionary history and adaptation of humans is being transformed by analyses of these new genomic data.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by: US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant R01GM110068 (J.M.A.); the European Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council (M.J.); the Danish National Research Foundation and the Lundbeck Foundation and KU2016 initiative (E.W.); and NIH grants R01GM116044 (R.N.), 1R01DK104339-01 and 1R01GM113657-01 (S.T.). We also thank S. Moon, S. Tucci, A. Sapfo-Malaspinas, M. Raghavan and M. W. Pedersen for discussions or for help in preparing the figures.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

    • Rasmus Nielsen
  2. Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 942720, USA.

    • Rasmus Nielsen
  3. Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

    • Rasmus Nielsen
    •  & Eske Willerslev
  4. Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-5065, USA.

    • Joshua M. Akey
  5. Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.

    • Mattias Jakobsson
  6. Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

    • Jonathan K. Pritchard
  7. Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

    • Jonathan K. Pritchard
  8. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

    • Jonathan K. Pritchard
  9. Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

    • Sarah Tishkoff
  10. Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

    • Sarah Tishkoff
  11. Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.

    • Eske Willerslev
  12. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SA, UK.

    • Eske Willerslev

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rasmus Nielsen.

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Reviewer Information Nature thanks D. Lambert, J. Novembre, S. Schiffels and C. Stringer for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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