Melinda A Yang, Montgomery Slatkin
We introduce a method for comparing a test genome with numerous genomes from a reference population. Sites in the test genome are given a weight w that depends on the allele frequency x in the reference population. The projection of the test genome onto the reference population is the average weight for each x, w(x). The weight is assigned in such a way that if the test genome is a random sample from the reference population, w(x)=1. Using analytic theory, numerical analysis, and simulations, we show how the projection depends on the time of population splitting, the history of admixture and changes in past population size. The projection is sensitive to small amounts of past admixture, the direction of admixture and admixture from a population not sampled (a ghost population). We compute the projection of several human and two archaic genomes onto three reference populations from the 1000 Genomes project, Europeans (CEU), Han Chinese (CHB) and Yoruba (YRI) and discuss the consistency of our analysis with previously published results for European and Yoruba demographic history. Including higher amounts of admixture between Europeans and Yoruba soon after their separation and low amounts of admixture more recently can resolve discrepancies between the projections and demographic inferences from some previous studies.