Nat Commun 2017 10 18;8(1):1005. Epub 2017 Oct 18.
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica (INMEGEN), Mexico City, 14610, Mexico.
Understanding the genetic structure of Native American populations is important to clarify their diversity, demographic history, and to identify genetic factors relevant for biomedical traits. Here, we show a demographic history reconstruction from 12 Native American whole genomes belonging to six distinct ethnic groups representing the three main described genetic clusters of Mexico (Northern, Southern, and Maya). Effective population size estimates of all Native American groups remained below 2,000 individuals for up to 10,000 years ago. The proportion of missense variants predicted as damaging is higher for undescribed (~ 30%) than for previously reported variants (~ 15%). Several variants previously associated with biological traits are highly frequent in the Native American genomes. These findings suggest that the demographic and adaptive processes that occurred in these groups shaped their genetic architecture and could have implications in biological processes of the Native Americans and Mestizos of today.