How Old is Europe?

How Old is Europe?

I do set My bow in the cloud

The following article is a spectacular confirmation of a short chronology for the human race. It shows that if carriers of cystic fibrosis have a selective advantage, then the population of Denmark separated from three Mediterranean populations about 4,500 years ago. Cystic fibrosis appears in about one in 2,500 births among Caucasians. This large frequency is hard to account for unless there is an advantage to carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene.

We note that 4,500 years ago would be about the time of the Flood or the Tower of Babel according to the Bible chronology. This would be a reasonable time for the European population to have had a common origin.

We hope that more such studies are done in the future, and believe that they will provide additional evidence that various human population split about 4,500 years ago. We also hope that such studies will be extended to other species to give better estimates on divergence times, and believe that these will likewise provide evidences for a recent creation of life.

Vol. 95, Issue 26, 15452-15457, December 22, 1998 PNAS


Using rare mutations to estimate population divergence times: A
maximum likelihood approach

Giorgio Bertorelle*, and Bruce Rannala

* Department of Integrative Biology, University of California,
* Berkeley, CA 94720-3140; and Department of Ecology and Evolution,
* State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5245

Communicated by Henry C. Harpending, University of Utah, Salt Lake
City, UT, October 23, 1998 (received for review July 27, 1998)

In this paper we propose a method to estimate by maximum likelihood
the divergence time between two populations, specifically designed for
the analysis of nonrecurrent rare mutations. Given the rapidly growing
amount of data, rare disease mutations affecting humans seem the most
suitable candidates for this method. The estimator RD, and its
conditional version RDc, were derived, assuming that the population
dynamics of rare alleles can be described by using a birth-death
process approximation and that each mutation arose before the split of
a common ancestral population into the two diverging populations. The
RD estimator seems more suitable for large sample sizes and few
alleles, whose age can be approximated, whereas the RDc estimator
appears preferable when this is not the case. When applied to three
cystic fibrosis mutations, the estimator RD could not exclude a very
recent time of divergence among three Mediterranean populations. On
the other hand, the divergence time between these populations and the
Danish population was estimated to be, on the average, 4,500 or 15,000
years, assuming or not a selective advantage for cystic fibrosis
carriers, respectively. Confidence intervals are large, however, and
can probably be reduced only by analyzing more alleles or loci.

Copyright ) 1998 by The National Academy of Sciences

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