Modeling the biological cost of cousin alliance on human population genetics (#51)
Population genetics has opened a new era of population history reconstruction, developing methods to infer past migration, settlement and admixture from DNA. Relying on simple models, these reconstructions always assumed random mating within population. However social-anthropology tells us that humans, modern and ancient, live in societies constrained by non random-mating, made of taboo and preferred alliance.
Are these social constraints imposing a biological cost via inbreeding? Can we explain the emergence of particular marriage rules? Should population genetics methods be corrected for non random mating in humans?
We explore the effect of a specific cousin alliance system on human population genetics using a new simulation tool (SMARTPOP). This permits to simulate a vast range of social, genetic and demographic parameters to quantitatively model the effect on genetics. We also investigate the ability of our simulations to infer the social history of small population, using empirical genetic data, in an Approximate Bayesian Computation framework.