Using Ancient Genomes to Detect Positive Selection on the Human Lineage. K. Prüfer, M. Lachmann, C. Theunert, M. Ongyerth, G. Renaud, M. Dannemann, T. Neandertal Genome Consortium, S. Pääbo Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
At least two distinct groups of archaic hominins inhabited Eurasia before the arrival of modern humans: Neandertals and Denisovans. The analysis of the genomes of these archaic humans revealed that they are more closely related to one another than they are to modern humans. However, since modern and archaic humans are so closely related, only about 10% of the archaic DNA sequences fall outside the present-day human variation whereas for 90% of the genome, Neandertal or Denisova DNA sequences are more closely related to some humans than to others. The fact that the archaic sequence often falls within the diversity of modern humans can be used to detect selective sweeps that affected all modern humans after their split from archaic humans since such sweeps will result in genomic regions where both the Neandertal and Denisova genomes fall outside the modern human variation. The genetic lengths of such external regions are proportional to the strength of selection, since stronger selection will lead to faster sweeps allowing less time for recombination to decrease their size. We have implemented a test for such external regions as a hidden Markov model. At each polymorphic position the model emits ancestral or derived based on whether the tested archaic genome carries the ancestral or derived variant of SNPs observed in present-day humans. The model was applied to 185 African genomes from the 1000 genomes phase 1 data. We identified thousands of external regions using the Neandertal and Denisova genomes, separately. Approximately one third of the regions are overlapping between the two genomes. These regions are significantly longer than regions only identified in only one of the archaic genomes. Based on this excess of overlap for long regions, we devise a measure to identify a set of regions that are candidates for selective sweeps on the human lineage since the split from Neandertal and Denisova.