Kevin J Galinsky , Gaurav Bhatia , Po-Ru Loh , Stoyan Georgiev , Sayan Mukherjee , Nick J Patterson , Alkes L Price
Principal components analysis (PCA) is a widely used tool for inferring population structure and correcting confounding in genetic data. We introduce a new algorithm, FastPCA, that leverages recent advances in random matrix theory to accurately approximate top PCs while reducing time and memory cost from quadratic to linear in the number of individuals, a computational improvement of many orders of magnitude. We apply FastPCA to a cohort of 54,734 European Americans, identifying 5 distinct subpopulations spanning the top 4 PCs. Using a new test for natural selection based on population differentiation along these PCs, we replicate previously known selected loci and identify three new signals of selection, including selection in Europeans at the ADH1B gene. The coding variant rs1229984 has previously been associated to alcoholism and shown to be under selection in East Asians; we show that it is a rare example of independent evolution on two continents.