Detecting ancient positive selection in humans using extended lineage sorting.
ABSTRACT: Natural selection that affected modern humans early in their evolution has likely shaped some of the traits that set present-day humans apart from their closest extinct and living relatives. The ability to detect ancient natural selection in the human genome could provide insights into the molecular basis for these human-specific traits. Here, we introduce a method for detecting ancient selective sweeps by scanning for extended genomic regions where our closest extinct relatives, Neandertals and Denisovans, fall outside of the present-day human variation. Regions that are unusually long indicate the presence of lineages that reached fixation in the human population faster than expected under neutral evolution. Using simulations, we show that the method is able to detect ancient events of positive selection and that it can differentiate those from background selection. Applying our method to the 1000 Genomes data set, we find evidence for ancient selective sweeps favoring regulatory changes and present a list of genomic regions that are predicted to underlie positively selected human specific traits.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent paleogenomic studies have highlighted a very small set of proteins carrying modern human-specific missense changes in comparison to our closest extinct relatives. Despite being frequently alluded to as highly relevant, species-specific differences in regulatory regions remain understudied. Here, we integrate data from paleogenomics, chromatin modification and physical interaction, and single-cell gene expression of neural progenitor cells to identify derived regulatory changes in the modern human lineage in comparison to Neanderthals/Denisovans. We report a set of genes whose enhancers and/or promoters harbor modern human single nucleotide changes and are active at early stages of cortical development. RESULTS:We identified 212 genes controlled by regulatory regions harboring modern human changes where Neanderthals/Denisovans carry the ancestral allele. These regulatory regions significantly overlap with putative modern human positively-selected regions and schizophrenia-related genetic loci. Among the 212 genes, we identified a substantial proportion of genes related to transcriptional regulation and, specifically, an enrichment for the SETD1A histone methyltransferase complex, known to regulate WNT signaling for the generation and proliferation of intermediate progenitor cells. CONCLUSIONS:This study complements previous research focused on protein-coding changes distinguishing our species from Neanderthals/Denisovans and highlights chromatin regulation as a functional category so far overlooked in modern human evolution studies. We present a set of candidates that will help to illuminate the investigation of modern human-specific ontogenetic trajectories.
Project description:Ever since the first draft of the human genome was completed in 2001, there has been increased interest in identifying genetic changes that are uniquely human, which could account for our distinct morphological and cognitive capabilities with respect to other apes. Recently, draft sequences of two extinct hominin genomes, a Neanderthal and Denisovan, have been released. These two genomes provide a much greater resolution to identify human-specific genetic differences than the chimpanzee, our closest extant relative. The Neanderthal genome paper presented a list of regions putatively targeted by positive selection around the time of the human-Neanderthal split. We here seek to characterize the evolutionary history of these candidate regions-examining evidence for selective sweeps in modern human populations as well as for accelerated adaptive evolution across apes. Results indicate that 3 of the top 20 candidate regions show evidence of selection in at least one modern human population (P < 5 × 10(5)). Additionally, four genes within the top 20 regions show accelerated amino acid substitutions across multiple apes (P < 0.01), suggesting importance across deeper evolutionary time. These results highlight the importance of evaluating evolutionary processes across both recent and ancient evolutionary timescales and intriguingly suggest a list of candidate genes that may have been uniquely important around the time of the human-Neanderthal split.
Project description:We introduce a new method to detect ancient selective sweeps centered on a candidate site. We explored different patterns produced by sweeps around a fixed beneficial mutation, and found that a particularly informative statistic measures the consistency between majority haplotypes near the mutation and genotypic data from a closely related population. We incorporated this statistic into an approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) method that tests for sweeps at a candidate site. We applied this method to simulated data and show that it has some power to detect sweeps that occurred more than 10,000 generations in the past. We also applied it to 1,000 Genomes and Complete Genomics data combined with high-coverage Denisovan and Neanderthal genomes to test for sweeps in modern humans since the separation from the Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestor. We tested sites at which humans are fixed for the derived (i.e., nonchimpanzee allele) whereas the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes are homozygous for the ancestral allele. We observe only weak differences in statistics indicative of selection between functional categories. When we compare patterns of scaled diversity or use our ABC approach, we fail to find a significant difference in signals of classic selective sweeps between regions surrounding nonsynonymous and synonymous changes, but we detect a slight enrichment for reduced scaled diversity around splice site changes. We also present a list of candidate sites that show high probability of having undergone a classic sweep in the modern human lineage since the split from Neanderthals and Denisovans.
Project description:The sequencing of Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes has yielded many new insights about interbreeding events between extinct hominins and the ancestors of modern humans. While much attention has been paid to the relatively recent gene flow from Neanderthals and Denisovans into modern humans, other instances of introgression leave more subtle genomic evidence and have received less attention. Here, we present a major extension of the ARGweaver algorithm, called ARGweaver-D, which can infer local genetic relationships under a user-defined demographic model that includes population splits and migration events. This Bayesian algorithm probabilistically samples ancestral recombination graphs (ARGs) that specify not only tree topologies and branch lengths along the genome, but also indicate migrant lineages. The sampled ARGs can therefore be parsed to produce probabilities of introgression along the genome. We show that this method is well powered to detect the archaic migration into modern humans, even with only a few samples. We then show that the method can also detect introgressed regions stemming from older migration events, or from unsampled populations. We apply it to human, Neanderthal, and Denisovan genomes, looking for signatures of older proposed migration events, including ancient humans into Neanderthal, and unknown archaic hominins into Denisovans. We identify 3% of the Neanderthal genome that is putatively introgressed from ancient humans, and estimate that the gene flow occurred between 200-300kya. We find no convincing evidence that negative selection acted against these regions. Finally, we predict that 1% of the Denisovan genome was introgressed from an unsequenced, but highly diverged, archaic hominin ancestor. About 15% of these "super-archaic" regions-comprising at least about 4Mb-were, in turn, introgressed into modern humans and continue to exist in the genomes of people alive today.
Project description:We review studies of genomic data obtained by sequencing hominin fossils with particular emphasis on the unique information that ancient DNA (aDNA) can provide about the demographic history of humans and our closest relatives. We concentrate on nuclear genomic sequences that have been published in the past few years. In many cases, particularly in the Arctic, the Americas, and Europe, aDNA has revealed historical demographic patterns in a way that could not be resolved by analyzing present-day genomes alone. Ancient DNA from archaic hominins has revealed a rich history of admixture between early modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans, and has allowed us to disentangle complex selective processes. Information from aDNA studies is nowhere near saturation, and we believe that future aDNA sequences will continue to change our understanding of hominin history.
Project description:Madagascar is well known for its diverse fauna and flora, being home to many species not found anywhere else in the world. However, its biodiversity in the recent past included a range of extinct enigmatic fauna, such as elephant birds, giant lemurs and dwarfed hippopotami. The 'Malagasy aardvark' (Plesiorycteropus) has remained one of Madagascar's least well-understood extinct species since its discovery in the 19(th) century. Initially considered a close relative of the aardvark (Orycteropus) within the order Tubulidentata, more recent morphological analyses challenged this placement on the grounds that the identifiably derived traits supporting this allocation were adaptations to digging rather than shared ancestry. Because the skeletal evidence showed many morphological traits diagnostic of different eutherian mammal orders, they could not be used to resolve its closest relatives. As a result, the genus was tentatively assigned its own taxonomic order 'Bibymalagasia', yet how this order relates to other eutherian mammal orders remains unclear despite numerous morphological investigations. This research presents the first known molecular sequence data for Plesiorycteropus, obtained from the bone protein collagen (I), which places the 'Malagasy aardvark' as more closely related to tenrecs than aardvarks. More specifically, Plesiorycteropus was recovered within the order Tenrecoidea (golden moles and tenrecs) within Afrotheria, suggesting that the taxonomic order 'Bibymalagasia' is obsolete. This research highlights the potential for collagen sequencing in investigating the phylogeny of extinct species as a viable alternative to ancient DNA (aDNA) sequencing, particularly in cases where aDNA cannot be recovered.
Project description:Regulatory variation influencing gene expression is a key contributor to phenotypic diversity, both within and between species. Unfortunately, RNA degrades too rapidly to be recovered from fossil remains, limiting functional genomic insights about our extinct hominin relatives. Many Neanderthal sequences survive in modern humans due to ancient hybridization, providing an opportunity to assess their contributions to transcriptional variation and to test hypotheses about regulatory evolution. We developed a flexible Bayesian statistical approach to quantify allele-specific expression (ASE) in complex RNA-seq datasets. We identified widespread expression differences between Neanderthal and modern human alleles, indicating pervasive cis-regulatory impacts of introgression. Brain regions and testes exhibited significant downregulation of Neanderthal alleles relative to other tissues, consistent with natural selection influencing the tissue-specific regulatory landscape. Our study demonstrates that Neanderthal-inherited sequences are not silent remnants of ancient interbreeding but have measurable impacts on gene expression that contribute to variation in modern human phenotypes.
Project description:The extinct moa-nalos were very large, flightless waterfowl from the Hawaiian islands. We extracted, amplified and sequenced mitochondrial DNA from fossil moa-nalo bones to determine their systematic relationships and lend insight into their biogeographical history. The closest living relatives of these massive, goose-like birds are the familiar dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini). Moa-nalos, however, are not closely related to any one extant species, but represent an ancient lineage that colonized the Hawaiian islands and evolved flightlessness long before the emergence of the youngest island, Hawaii, from which they are absent. Ancient DNA yields a novel hypothesis for the relationships of these bizarre birds, whereas the evidence of phylogeny in morphological characters was obscured by the evolutionary transformation of a small, volant duck into a giant, terrestrial herbivore.
Project description:Humans have a comparatively higher rate of more polymorphisms in regulatory regions of the primate CCR5 gene, an immune system gene with both general and specific functions. This has been interpreted as allowing flexibility and diversity of gene expression in response to varying disease loads. A broad expression repertoire is useful to humans-the only globally distributed primate-due to our unique adaptive pattern that increased pathogen exposure and disease loads (e.g., sedentism, subsistence practices). The main objective of the study was to determine if the previously observed human pattern of increased variation extended to other members of our genus, Homo. The data for this study are mined from the published genomes of extinct hominins (four Neandertals and two Denisovans), an ancient human (Ust'-Ishim), and modern humans (1000 Genomes). An average of 15 polymorphisms per individual were found in human populations (with a total of 262 polymorphisms). There were 94 polymorphisms identified across extinct Homo (an average of 13 per individual) with 41 previously observed in modern humans and 53 novel polymorphisms (32 in Denisova and 21 in Neandertal). Neither the frequency nor distribution of polymorphisms across gene regions exhibit significant differences within the genus Homo. Thus, humans are not unique with regards to the increased frequency of regulatory polymorphisms and the evolution of variation patterns across CCR5 gene appears to have originated within the genus. A broader evolutionary perspective on regulatory flexibility may be that it provided an advantage during the transition to confrontational foraging (and later hunting) that altered human-environment interaction as well as during migration to Eurasia and encounters with novel pathogens.
Project description:Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is an economically and nutritionally important fruit crop of the Solanaceae family, which was domesticated in India and southern China. However, the genome regions subjected to selective sweeps in eggplant remain unknown. In the present study, we performed comparative transcriptome analysis of cultivated and wild eggplant species with emphasis on the selection pattern during domestication. In total, 44,073 (S. sisymbriifolium) to 58,677 (S. melongena cultivar S58) unigenes were generated for the six eggplant accessions with total lengths of 36.6-46 Mb. The orthologous genes were assessed using the ratio of nonsynonymous (K a) to synonymous (K s) nucleotide substitutions to characterize selective patterns during eggplant domestication. We identified 19 genes under positive selection across the phylogeny that were classified into four groups. The gene (OG12205) under positive selection was possibly associated with fruit-related traits in eggplant, which may have resulted from human manipulation. Eight positive selected genes were potentially involved in stress tolerance or disease resistance, suggesting that environmental changes and biotic stresses were important selective pressures in eggplant domestication. Taken together, our results shed light on the effects of artificial and natural selection on the transcriptomes of eggplant and its wild relatives. Identification of the selected genes will facilitate the understanding of genetic architecture of domesticated-related traits and provide resources for resistant breeding in eggplant.