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Estimating genetic kin relationships in prehistoric populations

Estimating genetic kin relationships in prehistoric populations

Jose Manuel Monroy Kuhn,  View ORCID ProfileMattias Jakobsson,  View ORCID ProfileTorsten Günther
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/100297
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed [what does this mean?].
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Abstract

Archaeogenomic research has proven to be a valuable tool to trace migrations of historic and prehistoric individuals and groups, whereas relationships within a group or burial site have been more challenging to investigate. Knowing the genetic kinship of historic and prehistoric individuals would give important insights into social structures of ancient and historic cultures. Most archaeogenetic research concerning kinship has been restricted to uniparental markers, while studies using genome-wide information were mainly focused on comparisons between populations. Applications which infer the degree of relationship based on modern-day DNA information typically require diploid SNP data. Low concentration of endogenous DNA, fragmentation and other post-mortem damage to ancient DNA (aDNA) makes the application of such tools unfeasible for most archaeological samples. To infer family relationships for degraded samples, we developed the software READ (Relationship Estimation from Ancient DNA). We show that our heuristic approach can successfully infer up to second degree of relationship with as little as 0.1x shotgun coverage per genome for pairs of individuals. We uncover previously unknown relationships by applying READ to published aDNA datasets from different cultures. In particular we find a group of five closely related males from the same Corded Ware culture site in Germany suggesting patrilocality, which highlights the possibility to uncover social structures of ancient populations by applying READ to genome-wide aDNA data.

http://biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2017/01/13/100297.full.pdf
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