To shed light on the peopling of South Asia and the origins of the morphological adaptations found there, we analyzed whole-genome sequences from 10 Andamanese individuals and compared them with sequences for 60 individuals from mainland Indian populations with different ethnic histories and with publicly available data from other populations. We show that all Asian and Pacific populations share a single origin and expansion out of Africa, contradicting an earlier proposal of two independent waves of migration1,2,3,4. We also show that populations from South and Southeast Asia harbor a small proportion of ancestry from an unknown extinct hominin, and this ancestry is absent from Europeans and East Asians. The footprints of adaptive selection in the genomes of the Andamanese show that the characteristic distinctive phenotypes of this population (including very short stature) do not reflect an ancient African origin but instead result from strong natural selection on genes related to human body size.
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J. Nye and C. Tyler-Smith kindly corrected the manuscript in depth. Thanks are given to R.A. Foley for discussion and inspiring input for Figure 3. Our main funding was provided by the joint Spain–India bilateral grant PRI-PIBIN-2011-0942 from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain). Complementary funding was provided by grant BFU2013-43726-P from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain), with the support of Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca, Departament d'Economia i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya (GRC 2014 SGR866).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Mondal, M., Casals, F., Xu, T. et al. Genomic analysis of Andamanese provides insights into ancient human migration into Asia and adaptation. Nat Genet 48, 1066–1070 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng.3621
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