Abstract | Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa

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Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

Affiliation details

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, United Kingdom; Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, United Kingdom; Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia; Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, The Gambia; Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme, Burkina Faso; University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy; Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana; Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana; University of Buea, Cameroon; KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya; Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Tanzania; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom; College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Malawi; University of Bamako, Mali

Similarity between two individuals in the combination of genetic markers along their chromosomes indicates shared ancestry and can be used to identify historical connections between different population groups due to admixture. We use a genome-wide, haplotype-based, analysis to characterise the structure of genetic diversity and gene-flow in a collection of 48 sub-Saharan African groups. We show that coastal populations experienced an influx of Eurasian haplotypes over the last 7000 years, and that Eastern and Southern Niger-Congo speaking groups share ancestry with Central West Africans as a result of recent population expansions. In fact, most sub-Saharan populations share ancestry with groups from outside of their current geographic region as a result of gene-flow within the last 4000 years. Our in-depth analysis provides insight into haplotype sharing across different ethno-linguistic groups and the recent movement of alleles into new environments, both of which are relevant to studies of genetic epidemiology.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.15266.001