New Results

Spatial localization of recent ancestors for admixed individuals

Wen-Yun Yang, Alexander Platt, Charleston Wen-Kai Chiang, Eleazar Eskin, John Novembre, Bogdan Pasaniuc

Abstract

Ancestry analysis from genetic data plays a critical role in studies of human disease and evolution. Recent work has introduced explicit models for the geographic distribution of genetic variation and has shown that such explicit models yield superior accuracy in ancestry inference over non-model-based methods. Here we extend such work to introduce a method that models admixture between ancestors from multiple sources across a geographic continuum. We devise efficient algorithms based on hidden Markov models to localize on a map the recent ancestors (e.g. grandparents) of admixed individuals, joint with assigning ancestry at each locus in the genome. We validate our methods using empirical data from individuals with mixed European ancestry from the POPRES study and show that our approach is able to localize their recent ancestors within an average of 470Km of the reported locations of their grandparents. Furthermore, simulations from real POPRES genotype data show that our method attains high accuracy in localizing recent ancestors of admixed individuals in Europe (an average of 550Km from their true location for localization of 2 ancestries in Europe, 4 generations ago). We explore the limits of ancestry localization under our approach and find that performance decreases as the number of distinct ancestries and generations since admixture increases. Finally, we build a map of expected localization accuracy across admixed individuals according to the location of origin within Europe of their ancestors.