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The Demographic History of African Drosophila melanogaster.

Abstract

As one of the most commonly utilized organisms in the study of local adaptation, an accurate characterization of the demographic history of Drosophila melanogaster remains as an important research question. This owes both to the inherent interest in characterizing the population history of this model organism, as well as to the well-established importance of an accurate null demographic model for increasing power and decreasing false positive rates in genomic scans for positive selection. Although considerable attention has been afforded to this issue in non-African populations, less is known about the demographic history of African populations, including from the ancestral range of the species. While qualitative predictions and hypotheses have previously been forwarded, we here present a quantitative model fitting of the population history characterizing both the ancestral Zambian population range as well as the subsequently colonized west African populations, which themselves served as the source of multiple non-African colonization events. We here report the split time of the West African population at 72 kya, a date corresponding to human migration into this region as well as a period of climatic changes in the African continent. Furthermore, we have estimated population sizes at this split time. These parameter estimates thus represent an important null model for future investigations in to African and non-African D. melanogaster populations alike.

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