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Thread: Admixture with indigenous people helps local adaptation: admixture-enabled selection

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    Admixture with indigenous people helps local adaptation: admixture-enabled selection


    Homo sapiens have experienced admixture many times in the last few thousand years. To examine how admixture affects local adaptation, we investigated genomes of modern Polynesians, who are shaped through admixture between Austronesian-speaking people from Southeast Asia (Asian-related ancestors) and indigenous people in Near Oceania (Papuan-related ancestors).

    In this study local ancestry was estimated across the genome in Polynesians (23 Tongan subjects) to find the candidate regions of admixture-enabled selection contributed by Papuan-related ancestors.

    The mean proportion of Papuan-related ancestry across the Polynesian genome was estimated as 24.6% (SD = 8.63%), and two genomic regions, the extended major histocompatibility complex (xMHC) region on chromosome 6 and the ATP-binding cassette transporter sub-family C member 11 (ABCC11) gene on chromosome 16, showed proportions of Papuan-related ancestry more than 5 SD greater than the mean (> 67.8%). The coalescent simulation under the assumption of selective neutrality suggested that such signals of Papuan-related ancestry enrichment were caused by positive selection after admixture (false discovery rate = 0.045). The ABCC11 harbors a nonsynonymous SNP, rs17822931, which affects apocrine secretory cell function. The approximate Bayesian computation indicated that, in Polynesian ancestors, a strong positive selection (s = 0.0217) acted on the ancestral allele of rs17822931 derived from Papuan-related ancestors.

    Our results suggest that admixture with Papuan-related ancestors contributed to the rapid local adaptation of Polynesian ancestors. Considering frequent admixture events in human evolution history, the acceleration of local adaptation through admixture should be a common event in humans.
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