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Ancient genomic reconstruction of convergent evolution to agriculture

Project description

Ancient population genomics to reconstruct general evolutionary circumstances

How did evolutionary processes during the agricultural transition differ among regions? Which genomic adaptations were associated with the agricultural transition some 10 000 years ago? Did adaptation to hunter-gatherer and agricultural lifestyles act on similar genetic architecture in different instances? To which extent did adaptation in domestic dogs — the only species domesticated prior to the agricultural transition — occur in convergence with humans? The EU-funded AGRICON project will answer these questions. It will study ancient population genomics to reconstruct the general evolutionary circumstances that characterise human populations living on different continents. The project will develop new computational methods to identify adaptive admixture, analyse copy number variation, test continuous population models, and statistically assess convergence in the genomic architecture of adaptation.

Objective

As global climates warmed ca. 10,000 years ago came a remarkable convergent transformation of human lifestyles that occurred independently in multiple continents and human populations. This transition from hunter-gatherer subsistence to food-production catalysed large-scale population growth, offering the opportunity for increased rates of adaptation, but also rapidly presented a large number of independent human populations with a new evolutionary challenge. This project will use ancient population genomics—the only way to directly reconstruct human genetic evolution—to study whether evolutionary processes during the agricultural transition differed in differed regions. Which genomic adaptations were associated with the agricultural transition? Did adaptation to hunter-gatherer and agricultural lifestyles act on similar genetic architecture in different instances? To which extent did adaptation in domestic dogs—the only species domesticated prior to the agricultural transition—occur in convergence with humans? To answer these questions, the project will generate ancient genomic data from pre-agricultural and early agricultural populations from multiple human- and domestic dog populations from Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia. This will be achieved with direct sequencing as well as a new human ~850,000 SNP capture panel designed to avoid bias towards Eurasian ancestry. We will also develop new computational methods robust to the challenges posed by ancient genomes to identify adaptive admixture, analyse copy number variation, test continuous population models, and statistically assess convergence in the genomic architecture of adaptation. Leveraging cutting-edge ancient genomics and two model organisms for the genomic basis of phenotypic variation, this project aims to reconstruct the universal evolutionary phenomena underpinning a watershed evolutionary episode that shapes global biodiversity and the human condition to this day.

Host institution

THE FRANCIS CRICK INSTITUTE LIMITED
Net EU contribution
€ 1 500 000,00
Address
1 MIDLAND ROAD
NW1 1AT London
United Kingdom

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Region
London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 1 500 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)