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Research Article

Genetic Variation and Population Structure in Native Americans

  • Sijia Wang equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Sijia Wang, Cecil M Lewis Jr., Mattias Jakobsson

    Affiliation: The Galton Laboratory, Department of Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom

    X
  • Cecil M Lewis Jr. equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Sijia Wang, Cecil M Lewis Jr., Mattias Jakobsson

    Affiliation: Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Mattias Jakobsson equal contributor,

    equal contributor Contributed equally to this work with: Sijia Wang, Cecil M Lewis Jr., Mattias Jakobsson

    Affiliations: Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America, Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Sohini Ramachandran,

    Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

    X
  • Nicolas Ray,

    Affiliation: Computational and Molecular Population Genetics Lab, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

    X
  • Gabriel Bedoya,

    Affiliation: Laboratorio de Genética Molecular, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

    X
  • Winston Rojas,

    Affiliation: Laboratorio de Genética Molecular, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

    X
  • Maria V Parra,

    Affiliation: Laboratorio de Genética Molecular, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

    X
  • Julio A Molina,

    Affiliation: Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States of America

    X
  • Carla Gallo,

    Affiliation: Laboratorios de Investigación y Desarrollo, Facultad de Ciencias y Filosofía, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Perú

    X
  • Guido Mazzotti,

    Affiliation: Laboratorios de Investigación y Desarrollo, Facultad de Ciencias y Filosofía, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Perú

    X
  • Giovanni Poletti,

    Affiliation: Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Perú

    X
  • Kim Hill,

    Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

    X
  • Ana M Hurtado,

    Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

    X
  • Damian Labuda,

    Affiliation: Département de Pédiatrie, CHU Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

    X
  • William Klitz,

    Affiliations: School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America, Public Health Institute, Oakland, California, United States of America

    X
  • Ramiro Barrantes,

    Affiliation: Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica

    X
  • Maria Cátira Bortolini,

    Affiliation: Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    X
  • Francisco M Salzano,

    Affiliation: Departamento de Genética, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    X
  • Maria Luiza Petzl-Erler,

    Affiliation: Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

    X
  • Luiza T Tsuneto,

    Affiliation: Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

    X
  • Elena Llop,

    Affiliation: Programa de Genética Humana, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

    X
  • Francisco Rothhammer,

    Affiliations: Programa de Genética Humana, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile, Instituto de Alta Investigación, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile

    X
  • Laurent Excoffier,

    Affiliation: Computational and Molecular Population Genetics Lab, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

    X
  • Marcus W Feldman,

    Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

    X
  • Noah A Rosenberg mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rnoah@umich.edu

    Affiliations: Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America, Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

    X
  • Andrés Ruiz-Linares

    Affiliation: The Galton Laboratory, Department of Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom

    X
  • Published: November 23, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030185

Reader Comments (2)

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Amerindian Migration Route Possibilities

Posted by PLoS_Genetics on 25 Feb 2008 at 09:12 GMT

Originally submitted as a Reader Response by Douglas Woodard (dwoodard@becon.org) on 19 December 2007:

I wonder whether an alternative or more likely complementary migration route to the western coastal migration route, suggested by Wang and others, might have been a faster migration on land, south through the western highlands, than through eastern lowland areas.

I speculate that northerners might have moved faster through more open terrain near the treeline, where there was a treeline, and that they would have been more adapted physically to local diseases and parasites in cooler highland areas.

I wonder whether there is greater similarity in the habits of game going south along the high ground, requiring less time for the adaptation of hunting methods, than in lowland areas.

I wonder whether humans might have expanded their numbers to levels that encouraged further movement to unoccupied areas to the south, more quickly in the western highlands of north, central and southern America than in the lowlands to the east.

When a given area of highland was more or less fully occupied, probably humans would have expanded to the south and to the east (as well as to the west to meet the people moving along the coast), but more quickly to the south and more slowly to the east.

Once humans were established throughout the Americas, I speculate that selection pressures for genetic change in a population originating in eastern Siberia and Beringia might have been less in the highlands than in the hot and often humid lowland areas to the east with ecosystems differing more sharply from the northern areas of origin, except for a limited range of adaptations to extreme altitude in the altiplano, leading to a greater resemblance at present to the original founder populations from Beringia, in the western highlands as opposed to the eastern lowlands.