Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Genetics study: European ancestry close-knit

By
From page A5 | May 14, 2013 |

From Ireland to the Balkans, Europeans are basically one big family, closely related to one another for the past thousand years, according to a new study of the DNA of people from across the continent.

The study, co-authored by Graham Coop, a UC Davis professor of evolution and ecology, was published May 7 in the journal PLoS Biology.

“What’s remarkable about this is how closely everyone is related to each other. On a genealogical level, everyone in Europe traces back to nearly the same set of ancestors only a thousand years ago,” Coop said.

“This was predicted in theory over a decade ago, and we now have concrete evidence from DNA data,” Coop said, adding that such close kinship likely exists in other parts of the world as well.

Coop and co-author Peter Ralph, now a professor at the University of Southern California, set out to study relatedness among Europeans in recent history, up to about 3,000 years ago. Drawing on the Population Reference Sample database, a resource for population and genetics research, they compared genetic sequences from more than 2,000 individuals.

As expected, Coop and Ralph found that the degree of genetic relatedness between two people tends to be smaller the farther apart they live. But even a pair of individuals who live as far apart as the United Kingdom and Turkey — a distance of some 2,000 miles — likely are related to all of one another’s ancestors from a thousand years ago.

Subtle local differences, which likely mark demographic shifts and historic migrations, exist on top of this underlying kinship, Ralph said. Barriers like mountain ranges and linguistic differences have also slightly reduced relatedness among regions.

Coop noted, however, that these are all relatively small differences.

“The overall picture is that everybody is related, and we are looking at only subtle differences between regions,” he said.

To learn about these patterns, Ralph and Coop used ideas about the expected amount of genome shared between relatives of varying degrees of relatedness. For example, first cousins have grandparents in common and share long stretches of DNA.

Ralph and Coop looked for shorter blocks of DNA that were shared between cousins separated by many more generations.

Because the number of ancestors doubles with every generation, the chance of having identical DNA in common with more distant relatives quickly drops. But in large samples, rare cases of distant sharing could be detected. With their analysis, Coop and Ralph were able to detect these shared blocks of DNA in individuals spread across Europe, and calculate how long ago they shared an ancestor.

Coop and Ralph hope to continue the work with larger and more detailed databases, including much finer-resolution data on where individuals lived within a country.

However, Coop noted that while studies of genetic ancestry can shed light on history, they do not tell the whole story. Archaeology and linguistics also provide important information about how cultures and societies move and change.

“These studies need to proceed hand in hand, to form a much fuller picture of history,” Coop said.

— UC Davis News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Somewhere, over the rainbow

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1

 
More homes for sale in Davis, at higher prices

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Girls sleep safely at Myanmar school, thanks to generous Davisites

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis teen succumbs to head injuries

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

Police seek suspect in Woodland robbery spree

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Poppenga files to run for Davis school board

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Federal appeals court deals blow to health law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Driver dies in rural crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Appeals panel upholds race in admissions for UT Austin

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out planned Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Saylor welcomes visitors at ‘office hours’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Summer produce, yummy treats featured at Sutter market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explore the night sky at Tuleyome Astronomy Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A5

Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Korean teenagers welcome us with open arms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Time to support people with disabilities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Shame on the Palestinians

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
Kimble left a swimming legacy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Any treasures at The Cannery?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

 
Questions about city revenue

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Son-in-law has them worried

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Not up for full-time caregiving

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Yolo Post 77 looks to avenge last year’s outcome

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Thompson shines as Republic falls

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

River Cats overpower Chihuahuas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Area sports briefs: Heintz returns to UCD

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

MLB roundup: Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Winters Fourth Friday Feast celebrates cycling

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Lincoln Highway rolls into Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Acme Theatre to present ‘The Rememberer’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Video highlights walking The Camino

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

‘Grease’ is the show at WOH

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7