Genome-wide patterns of population structure and admixture in West Africans and African Americans

Katarzyna Bryc, Adam Auton, Matthew R. Nelson, Jorge R. Oksenberg, Stephen L. Hauser, Scott Williams, Alain Froment, Jean Marie Bodo, Charles Wambebe, Sarah A. Tishkoff, Carlos D. Bustamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quantifying patterns of population structure in Africans and African Americans illuminates the history of human populations and is critical for undertaking medical genomic studies on a global scale. To obtain a fine-scale genome-wide perspective of ancestry, we analyze Affymetrix GeneChip 500K genotype data from African Americans (n = 365) and individuals with ancestry from West Africa (n = 203 from 12 populations) and Europe (n = 400 from 42 countries). We find that population structure within the West African sample reflects primarily language and secondarily geographical distance, echoing the Bantu expansion. Among African Americans, analysis of genomic admixture by a principal component-based approach indicates that the median proportion of European ancestry is 18.5% (25th-75th percentiles: 11.6-27.7%), with very large variation among individuals. In the African-American sample as a whole, few autosomal regions showed exceptionally high or low mean African ancestry, but the X chromosome showed elevated levels of African ancestry, consistent with a sex-biased pattern of gene flow with an excess of European male and African female ancestry. We also find that genomic profiles of individual African Americans afford personalized ancestry reconstructions differentiating ancient vs. recent European and African ancestry. Finally, patterns of genetic similarity among inferred African segments of African-American genomes and genomes of contemporary African populations included in this study suggest African ancestry is most similar to non-Bantu Niger-Kordofanian-speaking populations, consistent with historical documents of the African Diaspora and trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-791
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume107
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Human genomics
  • Population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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