Genomic inference of a severe human bottleneck during the Early to Middle Pleistocene transition.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Hu, Wangjie; Hao, Ziqian; Du, Pengyuan; Di Vincenzo, Fabio; Manzi, Giorgio; Cui, Jialong; Fu, Yun-Xin; Pan, Yi-Hsuan; Li, Haipeng
Year of Publication: 2023
Journal: Science
Volume: 381
Issue: 6661
Pagination: 979-984
Date Published: 2023 Sep
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Asian, Black People, European People, Evolution, Molecular, Fossils, Genome, Human, Genomics, Humans, Population Dynamics

Population size history is essential for studying human evolution. However, ancient population size history during the Pleistocene is notoriously difficult to unravel. In this study, we developed a fast infinitesimal time coalescent process (FitCoal) to circumvent this difficulty and calculated the composite likelihood for present-day human genomic sequences of 3154 individuals. Results showed that human ancestors went through a severe population bottleneck with about 1280 breeding individuals between around 930,000 and 813,000 years ago. The bottleneck lasted for about 117,000 years and brought human ancestors close to extinction. This bottleneck is congruent with a substantial chronological gap in the available African and Eurasian fossil record. Our results provide new insights into our ancestry and suggest a coincident speciation event.

DOI: 10.1126/science.abq7487
Alternate Journal: Science