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Inferring Human Colonization History Using a Copying Model

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posted on May, 31 2008 @ 12:57 PM

Humans like to tell stories. Amongst the most captivating is the story of the global spread of modern humans from their original homeland in Africa. Traditionally this has been the preserve of anthropologists, but geneticists are starting to make an important contribution. However, genetic evidence is typically analyzed in the context of anthropological preconceptions. For genetics to provide an accurate and detailed history without reference to anthropology, methods are required that translate DNA sequence data into histories. We introduce a statistical method that has three virtues. First, it is based on a copying model that incorporates the block-by-block inheritance of DNA from one generation to the next. This allows it to capture the rich information provided by patterns of DNA sharing across the whole genome. Second, its parameter space includes an enormous number of possible colonization scenarios, meaning that inferences are correspondingly rich in detail. Third, the inferred colonization scenario is determined algorithmically. We have applied this method to data from 53 human populations and find that while the current consensus is broadly supported, some populations have surprising histories. This scenario can be viewed as a movie, making it transparent where statistical analysis ends and where interpretation begins.

A new study - not well accepted as of yet

Movie S1 (Slideshow)

Movie s2 (slideshow)

posted on May, 31 2008 @ 10:34 PM
I don't know how well it will be accepted. I can see a few problems (and a few oddities) with it, including that they ignore possible cultural factors in this. Humans are treated as animals with no culture and no bias in mate selection. Nor do they account for mutations and preferred mutations.

It meshes reasonably well with some of the anthropological and archaeological data, as they say, but there are some very odd datapoints there and not all of it is completely convincing.

Intriguing, though, and may form the basis for additional research later.

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 01:07 AM
Howdy Byrd

Yes it one of those studies that you after you read it/ view it you go, what?

Might be some wisdom in it but as you say some odd misses too.


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