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Mapping co-ancestry connections between the genome of a Medieval individual and modern Europeans

AuthorsFerrando-Bernal, Manuel; Morcillo-Suárez, Carlos ; De-Dios, Toni; Gelabert, Pere ; Civit, Sergi; Díaz-Carvajal, Antònia; Ollich-Castanyer, Imma; Allentoft, Morten; Valverde, Sergi ; Lalueza-Fox, Carles
Issue Date22-Apr-2020
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationScientific Reports 10: 6843 (2020)
AbstractHistorical genetic links among similar populations can be difficult to establish. Identity by descent (IBD) analyses find genomic blocks that represent direct genealogical relationships among individuals. However, this method has rarely been applied to ancient genomes because IBD stretches are progressively fragmented by recombination and thus not recognizable after few tens of generations. To explore such genealogical relationships, we estimated long IBD blocks among modern Europeans, generating networks to uncover the genetic structures. We found that Basques, Sardinians, Icelanders and Orcadians form, each of them, highly intraconnected sub-clusters in a European network, indicating dense genealogical links within small, isolated populations. We also exposed individual genealogical links -such as the connection between one Basque and one Icelandic individual- that cannot be uncovered with other, widely used population genetics methods such as PCA or ADMIXTURE. Moreover, using ancient DNA technology we sequenced a Late Medieval individual (Barcelona, Spain) to high genomic coverage and identified IBD blocks shared between her and modern Europeans. The Medieval IBD blocks are statistically overrepresented only in modern Spaniards, which is the geographically closest population. This approach can be used to produce a fine-scale reflection of shared ancestry across different populations of the world, offering a direct genetic link from the past to the present.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64007-2
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