Explosive genetic evidence for explosive human population growth.

TitleExplosive genetic evidence for explosive human population growth.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGao F, Keinan A
JournalCurrent opinion in genetics & development
Date Published12/2016

The advent of next-generation sequencing technology has allowed the collection of vast amounts of genetic variation data. A recurring discovery from studying larger and larger samples of individuals had been the extreme, previously unexpected, excess of very rare genetic variants, which has been shown to be mostly due to the recent explosive growth of human populations. Here, we review recent literature that inferred recent changes in population size in different human populations and with different methodologies, with many pointing to recent explosive growth, especially in European populations for which more data has been available. We also review the state-of-the-art methods and software for the inference of historical population size changes that lead to these discoveries. Finally, we discuss the implications of recent population growth on personalized genomics, on purifying selection in the non-equilibrium state it entails and, as a consequence, on the genetic architecture underlying complex disease and the performance of mapping methods in discovering rare variants that contribute to complex disease risk.

Alternate JournalCurr. Opin. Genet. Dev.