David J. Witherspoon

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Tibetans have lived at very high altitudes for thousands of years, and they have a distinctive suite of physiological traits that enable them to tolerate environmental hypoxia. These phenotypes are clearly the result of adaptation to this environment, but their genetic basis remains unknown. We report genome-wide scans that reveal positive selection in(More)
Alu elements have inserted in primate genomes throughout the evolution of the order. One particular Alu lineage (Ye) began amplifying relatively early in hominid evolution and continued propagating at a low level as many of its members are found in a variety of hominid genomes. This study represents the first conclusive application of short interspersed(More)
Transposons of the mariner family are widespread in animal genomes and have apparently infected them by horizontal transfer. Most species carry only old defective copies of particular mariner transposons that have diverged greatly from their active horizontally transferred ancestor, while a few contain young, very similar, and active copies. We report here(More)
We report the isolation and sequencing of genomic copies of mariner transposons involved in recent horizontal transfers into the genomes of the European earwig, Forficula auricularia; the European honey bee, Apis mellifera; the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata; and a blister beetle, Epicauta funebris, insects from four different orders. These(More)
Ten types of mariner transposable elements (232 individual sequences) are present in the completed genomic DNA sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans and the partial sequence of Caenorhabditis briggsae. We analyze these replicated instances of mariner evolution and find that elements of a type have evolved within their genomes under no selection on their(More)
We report an analysis of more than 240,000 loci genotyped using the Affymetrix SNP microarray in 554 individuals from 27 worldwide populations in Africa, Asia, and Europe. To provide a more extensive and complete sampling of human genetic variation, we have included caste and tribal samples from two states in South India, Daghestanis from eastern Europe,(More)
Internal eliminated sequences (IESs) often interrupt ciliate genes in the silent germline nucleus but are exactly excised and eliminated from the developing somatic nucleus from which genes are then expressed. Some long IESs are transposons, supporting the hypothesis that short IESs are ancient transposon relics. In light of that hypothesis and to explore(More)
Recombination rates vary widely across the human genome, but little of that variation is correlated with known DNA sequence features. The genome contains more than one million Alu mobile element insertions, and these insertions have been implicated in non-homologous recombination, modulation of DNA methylation, and transcriptional regulation. If individual(More)
High-throughput genotyping data are useful for making inferences about human evolutionary history. However, the populations sampled to date are unevenly distributed, and some areas (e.g., South and Central Asia) have rarely been sampled in large-scale studies. To assess human genetic variation more evenly, we sampled 296 individuals from 13 worldwide(More)
The proportion of human genetic variation due to differences between populations is modest, and individuals from different populations can be genetically more similar than individuals from the same population. Yet sufficient genetic data can permit accurate classification of individuals into populations. Both findings can be obtained from the same data set,(More)