Open Access Preprint
Access to a geographically diverse set of modern human samples from the present time and from ancient remains, combined with archaic hominin samples, provides an unprecedented level of resolution to study both human history and adaptation. The amount and quality of ancient human data continues to improve, and enables tracking the trajectory of genetic variation over time. These data have the potential to help us redefine or generate new hypotheses of how human evolution occurred, and revise previous conjectures. In this review, we argue that leveraging all these data will help us better detail adaptive histories in humans. As a case in point, we focus on one of the most celebrated examples of human adaptation: the evolution of lactase persistence. We briefly review this dietary adaptation, and argue that, effectively, the evolutionary history of lactase persistence is still not fully resolved, and propose that by leveraging data from multiple populations across time and space, we find evidence of a more nuanced history than just a simple selective sweep. We support our hypotheses with simulation results and make some cautionary notes regarding the use of haplotype-based summary statistics to estimate evolutionary parameters.
Antelope, Chenling Xu; Marnetto, Davide; Casey, Fergal; and Huerta-Sanchez, Emilia, "Leveraging Multiple Populations across Time Helps Define Accurate Models of Human Evolution: A Reanalysis of the Lactase Persistence Adaptation" (2017). Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. 123.