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However, previous studies suggested that Europeans and Africans share only between 1 and 3 percent of their genomes, making this scenario unlikely.These studies looked at populations from sub-Saharan Africa but excluded North African populations.Evidence of North African descent was highest in the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands, with up to 20 percent of individual genomes reflecting shared ancestry.

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Online dating for europeans

The gradient of North African ancestry accounts for previous observations of low levels of sharing with Sub-Saharan Africa and is independent of recent gene flow from the Near East.

The source of genetic diversity in southern Europe has important biomedical implications; we find that most disease risk alleles from genome-wide association studies follow expected patterns of divergence between Europe and North Africa, with the principal exception of multiple sclerosis.

However, people from North Morocco and the Western Sahara had a higher risk of multiple sclerosis than expected, while Canary Islanders had a lower risk.

Explore further: New research raises doubts about whether modern humans and Neanderthals interbred More information: Gene flow from North Africa contributes to differential human genetic diversity in southern Europe, Published online before print June 3, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1306223110 Abstract Human genetic diversity in southern Europe is higher than in other regions of the continent.

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This difference has been attributed to postglacial expansions, the demic diffusion of agriculture from the Near East, and gene flow from Africa.

Using SNP data from 2,099 individuals in 43 populations, we show that estimates of recent shared ancestry between Europe and Africa are substantially increased when gene flow from North Africans, rather than Sub-Saharan Africans, is considered.

A second explanation, associated with the Neolithic revolution and the development of agriculture in the Near East, about 10,000 years ago, is that people from the Near East migrated westward to Europe, with gene flow varying in different parts of the continent.

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