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Neda Nemat-Gorgani, Hugo G Hilton, Brenna M Henn, Meng Lin, Christopher R Gignoux, Justin W Myrick, Cedric J Werely, Julie M Granka, Marlo Möller, Eileen G Hoal, Makoto Yawata, Nobuyo Yawata, Lies Boelen, Becca Asquith, Peter Parham, Paul J Norman
The functions of human NK cells in defense against pathogens and placental development during reproduction are modulated by interactions of killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIRs) with HLA-A, -B and -C class I ligands. Both receptors and ligands are highly polymorphic and exhibit extensive differences between human populations. Indigenous to southern Africa are the KhoeSan, the most ancient group of modern human populations, who have highest genomic diversity worldwide. We studied two KhoeSan populations, the Nama pastoralists and the ≠Khomani San hunter-gatherers...
March 16, 2018: Journal of Immunology: Official Journal of the American Association of Immunologists
Yasuo Hagihara, Takashi Nara
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate differences in the diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry (CSG) of the metatarsal bones (MTs) between two populations with different habitual activities: the Jomon hunter-gatherers and modern Japanese people. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated the first through fifth MTs of 117 skeleton samples: 59 (33 men and 26 women) were obtained from Late and Final Jomon period archeological sites and 58 (31 men and 27 women) were from modern Japanese people...
March 15, 2018: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Remco R Bouckaert, Claire Bowern, Quentin D Atkinson
It remains a mystery how Pama-Nyungan, the world's largest hunter-gatherer language family, came to dominate the Australian continent. Some argue that social or technological advantages allowed rapid language replacement from the Gulf Plains region during the mid-Holocene. Others have proposed expansions from refugia linked to climatic changes after the last ice age or, more controversially, during the initial colonization of Australia. Here, we combine basic vocabulary data from 306 Pama-Nyungan languages with Bayesian phylogeographic methods to explicitly model the expansion of the family across Australia and test between these origin scenarios...
March 12, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Marie Lopez, Athanasios Kousathanas, Hélène Quach, Christine Harmant, Patrick Mouguiama-Daouda, Jean-Marie Hombert, Alain Froment, George H Perry, Luis B Barreiro, Paul Verdu, Etienne Patin, Lluís Quintana-Murci
Understanding how deleterious genetic variation is distributed across human populations is of key importance in evolutionary biology and medical genetics. However, the impact of population size changes and gene flow on the corresponding mutational load remains a controversial topic. Here, we report high-coverage exomes from 300 rainforest hunter-gatherers and farmers of central Africa, whose distinct subsistence strategies are expected to have impacted their demographic pasts. Detailed demographic inference indicates that hunter-gatherers and farmers recently experienced population collapses and expansions, respectively, accompanied by increased gene flow...
March 12, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Cristina Valdiosera, Torsten Günther, Juan Carlos Vera-Rodríguez, Irene Ureña, Eneko Iriarte, Ricardo Rodríguez-Varela, Luciana G Simões, Rafael M Martínez-Sánchez, Emma M Svensson, Helena Malmström, Laura Rodríguez, José-María Bermúdez de Castro, Eudald Carbonell, Alfonso Alday, José Antonio Hernández Vera, Anders Götherström, José-Miguel Carretero, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Colin I Smith, Mattias Jakobsson
Population genomic studies of ancient human remains have shown how modern-day European population structure has been shaped by a number of prehistoric migrations. The Neolithization of Europe has been associated with large-scale migrations from Anatolia, which was followed by migrations of herders from the Pontic steppe at the onset of the Bronze Age. Southwestern Europe was one of the last parts of the continent reached by these migrations, and modern-day populations from this region show intriguing similarities to the initial Neolithic migrants...
March 12, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
John R Speakman
Human obesity has a large genetic component, yet has many serious negative consequences. How this state of affairs has evolved has generated wide debate. The thrifty gene hypothesis was the first attempt to explain obesity as a consequence of adaptive responses to an ancient environment that in modern society become disadvantageous. The idea is that genes (or more precisely, alleles) predisposing to obesity may have been selected for by repeated exposure to famines. However, this idea has many flaws: for instance, selection of the supposed magnitude over the duration of human evolution would fix any thrifty alleles (famines kill the old and young, not the obese) and there is no evidence that hunter-gatherer populations become obese between famines...
March 7, 2018: Journal of Experimental Biology
Daniel Lemogoum, William Ngatchou, Claude Bika Lele, Cecile Okalla, Marc Leeman, Jean-Paul Degaute, Philippe van de Borne
BACKGROUND: High salt intake increases blood pressure (BP) and hypertension risk. This study aimed to examine association of urinary sodium excretion with BP and hypertension correlates among Cameroonian pygmies under hunter-gatherer subsistence mode and Bantus, living in urban area under unhealthy behavioral habits. METHODS: In this cross-sectional cluster sampling study, we randomly enrolled rural pygmies living in Lolodorf and urban Bantus living in Douala. The World Health Organization steps questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic and lifestyle data...
March 7, 2018: BMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Thivviya Vairamuthu, Susan Pfeiffer
The Late Archaic in northeastern North America (4500-2800 B.P.) pre-dates reliance on pottery and domesticated plants. It is thought to reflect a highly mobile, seasonal migratory foraging/hunting regimen. A juvenile skeleton with pervasive bone wasting and fragile jaws from the Hind Site (AdHk-1), ca. 3000 B.P., southwestern Ontario, provides evidence of the social context of her family group, including aspects of mobility and food management. The well-preserved bones and teeth are considered in bioarchaeological context...
March 2018: International Journal of Paleopathology
Dorothy E Loy, Meagan A Rubel, Alexa N Avitto, Weimin Liu, Yingying Li, Gerald H Learn, Alessia Ranciaro, Eric Mbunwe, Charles Fokunang, Alfred K Njamnshi, Paul M Sharp, Sarah A Tishkoff, Beatrice H Hahn
African apes are endemically infected with numerous Plasmodium spp. including close relatives of human Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae. Although these ape parasites are not believed to pose a zoonotic threat, their ability to colonise humans has not been fully explored. In particular, it remains unknown whether ape parasites are able to initiate exo-erythrocytic replication in human hepatocytes following the bite of an infective mosquito. Since animal studies have shown that liver stage infection can result in the excretion of parasite nucleic acids into the bile, we screened faecal samples from 504 rural Cameroonians for Plasmodium DNA...
February 21, 2018: International Journal for Parasitology
Iain Mathieson, Songül Alpaslan-Roodenberg, Cosimo Posth, Anna Szécsényi-Nagy, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Iñigo Olalde, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Francesca Candilio, Olivia Cheronet, Daniel Fernandes, Matthew Ferry, Beatriz Gamarra, Gloria González Fortes, Wolfgang Haak, Eadaoin Harney, Eppie Jones, Denise Keating, Ben Krause-Kyora, Isil Kucukkalipci, Megan Michel, Alissa Mittnik, Kathrin Nägele, Mario Novak, Jonas Oppenheimer, Nick Patterson, Saskia Pfrengle, Kendra Sirak, Kristin Stewardson, Stefania Vai, Stefan Alexandrov, Kurt W Alt, Radian Andreescu, Dragana Antonović, Abigail Ash, Nadezhda Atanassova, Krum Bacvarov, Mende Balázs Gusztáv, Hervé Bocherens, Michael Bolus, Adina Boroneanţ, Yavor Boyadzhiev, Alicja Budnik, Josip Burmaz, Stefan Chohadzhiev, Nicholas J Conard, Richard Cottiaux, Maja Čuka, Christophe Cupillard, Dorothée G Drucker, Nedko Elenski, Michael Francken, Borislava Galabova, Georgi Ganetsovski, Bernard Gély, Tamás Hajdu, Veneta Handzhyiska, Katerina Harvati, Thomas Higham, Stanislav Iliev, Ivor Janković, Ivor Karavanić, Douglas J Kennett, Darko Komšo, Alexandra Kozak, Damian Labuda, Martina Lari, Catalin Lazar, Maleen Leppek, Krassimir Leshtakov, Domenico Lo Vetro, Dženi Los, Ivaylo Lozanov, Maria Malina, Fabio Martini, Kath McSweeney, Harald Meller, Marko Menđušić, Pavel Mirea, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Vanya Petrova, T Douglas Price, Angela Simalcsik, Luca Sineo, Mario Šlaus, Vladimir Slavchev, Petar Stanev, Andrej Starović, Tamás Szeniczey, Sahra Talamo, Maria Teschler-Nicola, Corinne Thevenet, Ivan Valchev, Frédérique Valentin, Sergey Vasilyev, Fanica Veljanovska, Svetlana Venelinova, Elizaveta Veselovskaya, Bence Viola, Cristian Virag, Joško Zaninović, Steve Zäuner, Philipp W Stockhammer, Giulio Catalano, Raiko Krauß, David Caramelli, Gunita Zariņa, Bisserka Gaydarska, Malcolm Lillie, Alexey G Nikitin, Inna Potekhina, Anastasia Papathanasiou, Dušan Borić, Clive Bonsall, Johannes Krause, Ron Pinhasi, David Reich
Farming was first introduced to Europe in the mid-seventh millennium bc, and was associated with migrants from Anatolia who settled in the southeast before spreading throughout Europe. Here, to understand the dynamics of this process, we analysed genome-wide ancient DNA data from 225 individuals who lived in southeastern Europe and surrounding regions between 12000 and 500 bc. We document a west-east cline of ancestry in indigenous hunter-gatherers and, in eastern Europe, the early stages in the formation of Bronze Age steppe ancestry...
February 21, 2018: Nature
Lauren Alpert Sugden, Elizabeth G Atkinson, Annie P Fischer, Stephen Rong, Brenna M Henn, Sohini Ramachandran
Statistical methods for identifying adaptive mutations from population genetic data face several obstacles: assessing the significance of genomic outliers, integrating correlated measures of selection into one analytic framework, and distinguishing adaptive variants from hitchhiking neutral variants. Here, we introduce SWIF(r), a probabilistic method that detects selective sweeps by learning the distributions of multiple selection statistics under different evolutionary scenarios and calculating the posterior probability of a sweep at each genomic site...
February 19, 2018: Nature Communications
J Colette Berbesque, Kara C Hoover
Digital photographs taken under controlled conditions were used to examine the incidence of linear enamel hypoplasia defects (LEHs) in burials from the Buckeye Knoll archaeological site (41VT98 Victoria county, Texas), which spans the Early to Late Archaic Period (ca. 2,500-6,500 BP uncorrected radiocarbon). The majority (68 of 74 burials) date to the Texas Early Archaic, including one extremely early burial dated to 8,500 BP. The photogrammetric data collection method also results in an archive for Buckeye Knoll, a significant rare Archaic period collection that has been repatriated and reinterred...
2018: PeerJ
Kenichi Aoki
In apparent contradiction to the theoretically predicted effect of population size on the quality/quantity of material culture, statistical analyses on ethnographic hunter-gatherers have shown an absence of correlation between population size and toolkit size. This has sparked a heated, if sometimes tangential, debate as to the usefulness of the theoretical models and as to what modes of cultural transmission humans are capable of and hunter-gatherers rely on. I review the directly relevant theoretical literature and argue that much of the confusion is caused by a mismatch between the theoretical variable and the empirical observable...
April 5, 2018: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Benjamin Robira, Emmanuelle Pouydebat, Aurore San-Galli, Ellen J M Meulman, Françoise Aubaile, Thomas Breuer, Shelly Masi
OBJECTIVES: All human populations display a right-biased handedness. Nonetheless, if studies on western populations are plenty, investigations of traditional populations living at subsistence levels are rare. Yet, understanding the geographical variation of phenotypes of handedness is crucial for testing evolutionary hypotheses. We aimed to provide a preliminary investigation of factors affecting handedness in 25 Aka pygmies from Central African Republic when spontaneously gesturing or manipulating food/tools (Nactions  = 593)...
February 10, 2018: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Jonas K Olofsson, Donald A Wilson
Human olfaction is sensitive but poorly encoded by language. A new study comparing horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers suggests that the strength of odor language is dependent on life-style. This work may stimulate olfactory research at the crossroads between biology and culture.
February 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Samuel A Mehr, Manvir Singh, Hunter York, Luke Glowacki, Max M Krasnow
Humans use music for a variety of social functions: we sing to accompany dance, to soothe babies, to heal illness, to communicate love, and so on. Across animal taxa, vocalization forms are shaped by their functions, including in humans. Here, we show that vocal music exhibits recurrent, distinct, and cross-culturally robust form-function relations that are detectable by listeners across the globe. In Experiment 1, internet users (n = 750) in 60 countries listened to brief excerpts of songs, rating each song's function on six dimensions (e...
February 5, 2018: Current Biology: CB
Alissa Mittnik, Chuan-Chao Wang, Saskia Pfrengle, Mantas Daubaras, Gunita Zariņa, Fredrik Hallgren, Raili Allmäe, Valery Khartanovich, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Mari Tõrv, Anja Furtwängler, Aida Andrades Valtueña, Michal Feldman, Christos Economou, Markku Oinonen, Andrejs Vasks, Elena Balanovska, David Reich, Rimantas Jankauskas, Wolfgang Haak, Stephan Schiffels, Johannes Krause
While the series of events that shaped the transition between foraging societies and food producers are well described for Central and Southern Europe, genetic evidence from Northern Europe surrounding the Baltic Sea is still sparse. Here, we report genome-wide DNA data from 38 ancient North Europeans ranging from ~9500 to 2200 years before present. Our analysis provides genetic evidence that hunter-gatherers settled Scandinavia via two routes. We reveal that the first Scandinavian farmers derive their ancestry from Anatolia 1000 years earlier than previously demonstrated...
January 30, 2018: Nature Communications
Flavio De Angelis, Gabriele Scorrano, Cristina Martínez-Labarga, Giuseppina Scano, Fabio Macciardi, Olga Rickards
CONTEXT: The Mediterranean area has always played a significant role in human dispersal due to the large number of migratory events contributing to shape the cultural features and the genetic pool of its populations. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to review and diachronically describe the mitogenome variability in the Mediterranean population and the main demic diffusions that occurred in this area over time. METHODS: Frequency distributions of the leading mitochondrial haplogroups have been geographically and chronologically evaluated...
February 2018: Annals of Human Biology
Anna Maria Mercuri, Rita Fornaciari, Marina Gallinaro, Stefano Vanin, Savino di Lernia
The human selection of food plants cannot always have been aimed exclusively at isolating the traits typical of domesticated species today. Each phase of global change must have obliged plants and humans to cope with and develop innovative adaptive strategies. Hundreds of thousands of wild cereal seeds from the Holocene 'green Sahara' tell a story of cultural trajectories and environmental instability revealing that a complex suite of weediness traits were preferred by both hunter-gatherers and pastoralists...
January 29, 2018: Nature Plants
Wibhu Kutanan, Jatupol Kampuansai, Piya Changmai, Pavel Flegontov, Roland Schröder, Enrico Macholdt, Alexander Hübner, Daoroong Kangwanpong, Mark Stoneking
The Maniq and Mlabri are the only recorded nomadic hunter-gatherer groups in Thailand. Here, we sequenced complete mitochondrial (mt) DNA genomes and ~2.364 Mbp of non-recombining Y chromosome (NRY) to learn more about the origins of these two enigmatic populations. Both groups exhibited low genetic diversity compared to other Thai populations, and contrasting patterns of mtDNA and NRY diversity: there was greater mtDNA diversity in the Maniq than in the Mlabri, while the converse was true for the NRY. We found basal uniparental lineages in the Maniq, namely mtDNA haplogroups M21a, R21 and M17a, and NRY haplogroup K...
January 24, 2018: Scientific Reports
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