Estimate Ancestry Composition from SNP Data

Education Level: Undergraduate, Graduate, Continuing Education
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Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the discriminating information provided by allele frequency differences among reference populations for ancestry predictions.
  • Evaluate evidence to make predictions of potential source populations of an individual.
  • Develop the concept that an estimate of ancestry composition including admixture is produced from fine-grained fitting of many SNP markers across multiple populations.

This classroom exercise demonstrates the logic behind the modeling applied to estimate ancestry composition from an individuals’ SNP data.

Resources in this Lesson

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Bryant McAllister
Associate Professor of Biology, University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

My research program primarily focuses on discovering principles governing the organization of genes within chromosomes using flies in the genus Drosophila as a model. Aside from academic research, I am actively using the tools available in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing marketplace (e.g., 23andMe, and AncestryDNA) to investigate the intersection between biological and historical inferences of my family history, a pursuit referred to as genetic genealogy. Personal genetics represents an excellent educational platform for learning genetic and evolutionary principles, as exemplified by a First-Year Seminar entitled, Who are You? Revelations from The Personal Genome, I developed and teach at The University of Iowa.

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