Oral Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

Detection of human adaptation during the past 2,000 years (#23)

Jonathan Pritchard 1
  1. Stanford University, CA, United States

Detection of recent natural selection is a challenging problem in population genetics, as standard methods generally integrate over long timescales. In my talk I will describe a new statistic, the Singleton Density Score (SDS), a powerful measure to infer very recent changes in allele frequencies from contemporary genome sequences. When applied to data from the UK10K Project, SDS reflects allele frequency changes in the ancestors of modern Britons during the past 2,000 years. We see strong signals of selection at lactase and HLA, and in favor of blond hair and blue eyes. Turning to signals of polygenic adaptation we find, remarkably, that recent selection for increased height has driven allele frequency shifts across most of the genome. Moreover, we report suggestive new evidence for polygenic shifts affecting many other complex traits. Our results suggest that polygenic adaptation has played a pervasive role in shaping genotypic and phenotypic variation in modern humans. This project was led by Yair Field, Evan Boyle and Natalie Telis.