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Parsimony meets our understanding of recent human evolution: from phylogenetic trees to admixture galore
Luca Pagani

23 November 2017, 14:30
Salle/Bat : 435/PCRI-N
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Résumé :
Since the late 90s the first available DNA sequences from Neanderthal have fuelled a debate on putative admixture between “us” and our closest relatives. Back then, the available evidence were in agreement with the parsimony principle, stating that to explain the observed genetic and palaeoanthropology data no archaic admixture was necessary. However, since the release of the first low coverage draft of the Neanderthal genome by Green and colleagues in 2010, a growing body of evidence has been pointing to genetic encounters between different hominin species as the norm. Thanks to the ever increasing availability of human and archaic ancient DNA we have now recovered at least five independent admixture events that took place in the last 200.000 years within the Homo family, and a growing number of previously unsuspected, major human population movements.
Besides the implication for the understanding of our evolutionary history as a species, these examples highlight some limitations of the parsimonious approach. Furthermore they provide a good case study to appreciate how the availability of novel data may force the reshaping of a model considered stable otherwise.

Dans le cadre du groupe PSay CompBio, ouvert à tous.

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