1. Evolutionary Biology
  2. Genetics and Genomics
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Rapid adaptation to malaria facilitated by admixture in the human population of Cabo Verde

  1. Iman Hamid  Is a corresponding author
  2. Katharine L Korunes
  3. Sandra Beleza
  4. Amy Goldberg  Is a corresponding author
  1. Duke University, United States
  2. University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e63177 doi: 10.7554/eLife.63177

Abstract

Humans have undergone large migrations over the past hundreds to thousands of years, exposing ourselves to new environments and selective pressures. Yet, evidence of ongoing or recent selection in humans is difficult to detect. Many of these migrations also resulted in gene flow between previously separated populations. These recently admixed populations provide unique opportunities to study rapid evolution in humans. Developing methods based on distributions of local ancestry, we demonstrate that this sort of genetic exchange has facilitated detectable adaptation to a malaria parasite in the admixed population of Cabo Verde within the last ~20 generations. We estimate the selection coefficient is approximately 0.08, one of the highest inferred in humans. Notably, we show that this strong selection at a single locus has likely affected patterns of ancestry genome-wide, potentially biasing demographic inference. Our study provides evidence of adaptation in a human population on historical timescales.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Iman Hamid

    Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    For correspondence
    imanhamid95@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2168-9727
  2. Katharine L Korunes

    Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2648-4707
  3. Sandra Beleza

    Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Amy Goldberg

    Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    For correspondence
    amy.goldberg@duke.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9306-1539

Funding

National Institutes of Health (R35 GM133481)

  • Amy Goldberg

National Institutes of Health (F32 GM139313)

  • Katharine L Korunes

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Molly Przeworski, Columbia University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 16, 2020
  2. Accepted: January 4, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 4, 2021 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2021, Hamid et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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