Sunday, June 26, 2016

Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa

Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa

George BJ Busby et al,

Similarity between two individuals in the combination of genetic markers along their chromosomes indicates shared ancestry and can be used to identify historical connections between different population groups due to admixture. We use a genome-wide, haplotype-based, analysis to characterise the structure of genetic diversity and gene-flow in a collection of 48 sub-Saharan African groups. We show that coastal populations experienced an influx of Eurasian haplotypes over the last 7000 years, and that Eastern and Southern Niger-Congo speaking groups share ancestry with Central West Africans as a result of recent population expansions. In fact, most sub-Saharan populations share ancestry with groups from outside of their current geographic region as a result of gene-flow within the last 4000 years. Our in-depth analysis provides insight into haplotype sharing across different ethno-linguistic groups and the recent movement of alleles into new environments, both of which are relevant to studies of genetic epidemiology.

Our genomes contain a record of historical events. This is because when groups of people are separated for generations, the DNA sequence in the two groups’ genomes will change in different ways. Looking at the differences in the genomes of people from the same population can help researchers to understand and reconstruct the historical interactions that brought their ancestors together. The mixing of two populations that were previously separate is known as admixture.

Africa as a continent has few written records of its history. This means that it is somewhat unknown which important movements of people in the past generated the populations found in modern-day Africa. Busby et al. have now attempted to use DNA to look into this and reconstruct the last 4000 years of genetic history in African populations.

As has been shown in other regions of the world, the new analysis showed that all African populations are the result of historical admixture events. However, Busby et al. could characterize these events to unprecedented level of detail. For example, multiple ethnic groups from The Gambia and Mali all show signs of sharing the same set of ancestors from West Africa, Europe and Asia who mixed around 2000 years ago. Evidence of a migration of people from Central West Africa, known as the Bantu expansion, could also be detected, and was shown to carry genes to the south and east. An important next step will be to now look at the consequences of the observed gene-flow, and ask if it has contributed to spreading beneficial, or detrimental, mutations around Africa.

This paper is nonsense. It is found on hypotheses which do not reflect the African reality. Firstly,there is no Afro-Asiatic language family and the Bantu speakers did not originate in West-Central Africa. In addition, there is no discussion of archaeological evidence in support of any of the authors propositions, and as I pointed out in my article A PROTOCOL TO EVALUATE POPULATION GENETICS PAPERS the absence of archaeological data is the major indication that the paper lacks credibility.

Reading this paper is like reading any other racist Eurocentric article written at the turn of the 20th Century perpetuating the Hamitic myth.THE Hamitic myth states that everything of value ever found in Africa was brought there by the Hamites, allegedly a branch of the Caucasian race. Seligman formulated this hypothesis which led researchers to declare that the Fulani and Afro-Asiatic speakers were Hamites. As a result, when this study declares that the Fulani, who are not of Eurasian origin, and the Afro-Asiatic speakers have a high frequency of Eurasian (white) admixture, this paper is just reinforcing a hypothesis that lacks credibility. The results of this paper only perpetuates the Hamitic myth, many researchers had thought was abandoned--but has remained constant by geneticist who dress the hypothesis up in new clothes based on statistics, instead of actual archeaogenetics evidence.

The authors assume that the Bantu migrated out of Cameroon 2,5kya. This is ludicrous because the Bantu had been living in the Nile Valley long before 500BC.

In summary this paper is maintaining the status quo dogma that the Bantu and the rest of the Niger-Congo speakers are true Negroes, and the Afro-Asiatic speakers and Fulani are Hamites, i.e., dark skinned Caucasians. This paper offers nothing new in relation to African genetics, it is a throwback back to the 1930's racist anthropological studies.

No comments: