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Jessica Gross publishes New Article

Departmental News

Posted:  Jan 31, 2018 - 12:00am

Congratulations to Jessica Gross on her new article, Tests of fit of historically-informed models of African American Admixture, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. To view the full article, click here

Abstract

Objectives

African American populations in the U.S. formed primarily by mating between Africans and Europeans over the last 500 years. To date, studies of admixture have focused on either a one-time admixture event or continuous input into the African American population from Europeans only. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the admixture process by examining models that take into account (a) assortative mating by ancestry in the African American population, (b) continuous input from both Europeans and Africans, and (c) historically informed variation in the rate of African migration over time.

Materials and methods

We used a model-based clustering method to generate distributions of African ancestry in three samples comprised of 147 African Americans from two published sources. We used a log-likelihood method to examine the fit of four models to these distributions and used a log-likelihood ratio test to compare the relative fit of each model.

Results

The mean ancestry estimates for our datasets of 77% African/23% European to 83% African/17% European ancestry are consistent with previous studies. We find admixture models that incorporate continuous gene flow from Europeans fit significantly better than one-time event models, and that a model involving continuous gene flow from Africans and Europeans fits better than one with continuous gene flow from Europeans only for two samples. Importantly, models that involve continuous input from Africans necessitate a higher level of gene flow from Europeans than previously reported.

Discussion

We demonstrate that models that take into account information about the rate of African migration over the past 500 years fit observed patterns of African ancestry better than alternative models. Our approach will enrich our understanding of the admixture process in extant and past populations.

Full Citation:

  • Gross Jessica M. 2018. Tests of fit of historically-informed models of African American Admixture. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 165(2): 211–222