Ancient DNA and human history
Montgomery Slatkina,1 and Fernando Racimoa
aDepartment of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140
Edited by Richard G. Klein, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved January 21, 2016 (received for review December 9, 2015)
We review studies of genomic data obtained by sequencing hominin fossils with particular emphasis on the unique information that ancient DNA (aDNA) can provide about the demographic history of humans and our closest relatives. We concentrate on nuclear genomic sequences that have been published in the past few years. In many cases, particularly in the Arctic, the Americas, and Europe, aDNA has revealed historical demographic patterns in a way that could not be resolved by analyzing present-day genomes alone. Ancient DNA from archaic hominins has revealed a rich history of admixture between early modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans, and has allowed us to disentangle complex selective processes. Information from aDNA studies is nowhere near saturation, and we believe that future aDNA sequences will continue to change our understanding of hominin history.
human history Neanderthal Denisovan ancient DNA demography
1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author contributions: M.S. and F.R. wrote the paper.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
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