Diverse African genomes reveal selection on ancient modern human introgressions in Neanderthals.
Comparisons of Neanderthal genomes to anatomically modern human (AMH) genomes show a history of Neanderthal-to-AMH introgression stemming from interbreeding after the migration of AMHs from Africa to Eurasia. All non-sub-Saharan African AMHs have genomic regions genetically similar to Neanderthals that descend from this introgression. Regions of the genome with Neanderthal similarities have also been identified in sub-Saharan African populations, but their origins have been unclear. To better understand how these regions are distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, the source of their origin, and what their distribution within the genome tells us about early AMH and Neanderthal evolution, we analyzed a dataset of high-coverage, whole-genome sequences from 180 individuals from 12 diverse sub-Saharan African populations. In sub-Saharan African populations with non-sub-Saharan African ancestry, as much as 1% of their genomes can be attributed to Neanderthal sequence introduced by recent migration, and subsequent admixture, of AMH populations originating from the Levant and North Africa. However, most Neanderthal homologous regions in sub-Saharan African populations originate from migration of AMH populations from Africa to Eurasia ∼250 kya, and subsequent admixture with Neanderthals, resulting in ∼6% AMH ancestry in Neanderthals. These results indicate that there have been multiple migration events of AMHs out of Africa and that Neanderthal and AMH gene flow has been bi-directional. Observing that genomic regions where AMHs show a depletion of Neanderthal introgression are also regions where Neanderthal genomes show a depletion of AMH introgression points to deleterious interactions between introgressed variants and background genomes in both groups-a hallmark of incipient speciation.