Indigenous populations of the Tibetan plateau have attracted much attention for their good performance at extreme high altitude. Most genetic studies of Tibetan adaptations have used genetic variation data at the genome scale, while genetic inferences about their de- mography and population structure are largely based on uniparental markers. To provide genome-wide information on population structure, we analyzed new and published data of 338 individuals from indigenous populations across the plateau in conjunction with world- wide genetic variation data. We found a clear signal of genetic stratification across the east- west axis within Tibetan samples. Samples from more eastern locations tend to have higher genetic affinity with lowland East Asians, which can be explained by more gene flow from lowland East Asia onto the plateau. Our findings corroborate a previous report of admixture signals in Tibetans, which were based on a subset of the samples analyzed here, but add evidence for isolation by distance in a broader geospatial context.
Jeong, Choongwon; Peter, Benjamin M.; Basnyat, Buddha; Neupane, Maniraj; Childs, Geoff; Craig, Sienna; Novembre, John; and Di Rienzo, Anna, "A Longitudinal Cline Characterizes the Genetic Structure of Human Populations in the Tibetan Plateau" (2017). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 2500.