Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Population Genetics Of Modern France

A new comprehensive study of the autosomal population genetics of modern France is notable, because for various reasons France is underrepresented compared to other parts of Europe in population genetic studies.

But, the study doesn't tell us much except that generally population genetics within France vary in a clinal manner that is quite predictable, and that Paris is a bit of an exception to that since it draws people who are ancestrally from all over France and beyond.

The study does nothing to place France in a larger European or regional context, or to compare modern French population genetics to ancient DNA samples in Europe or otherwise.  It isn't clear to me if the data has been made publicly available so that others may engage in the analysis that the authors of this study refrained from doing themselves.

In the absence of this analysis, it is also hard to say what this detailed genetic data says about the population history of the French people.  The study also contains no analysis, linked to the autosomal data or otherwise, of uni-parental markers or particular alleles associated with particular phenotypes (such as skin and eye color or lactose tolerance).

So, on the whole the existence of the data is very tempting, but what has been done with it so far is very disappointing.

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