BackgroundInferring the ancestry of each region of admixed individuals' genomes is useful in studies ranging from disease gene mapping to speciation genetics. Current methods require high-coverage genotype data and phased reference panels, and are therefore inappropriate for many data sets. We present a software application, AD-LIBS, that uses a hidden Markov model to infer ancestry across hybrid genomes without requiring variant calling or phasing. This approach is useful for non-model organisms and in cases of low-coverage data, such as ancient DNA.
ResultsWe demonstrate the utility of AD-LIBS with synthetic data. We then use AD-LIBS to infer ancestry in two published data sets: European human genomes with Neanderthal ancestry and brown bear genomes with polar bear ancestry. AD-LIBS correctly infers 87-91% of ancestry in simulations and produces ancestry maps that agree with published results and global ancestry estimates in humans. In brown bears, we find more polar bear ancestry than has been published previously, using both AD-LIBS and an existing software application for local ancestry inference, HAPMIX. We validate AD-LIBS polar bear ancestry maps by recovering a geographic signal within bears that mirrors what is seen in SNP data. Finally, we demonstrate that AD-LIBS is more effective than HAPMIX at inferring ancestry when preexisting phased reference data are unavailable and genomes are sequenced to low coverage.
ConclusionsAD-LIBS is an effective tool for ancestry inference that can be used even when few individuals are available for comparison or when genomes are sequenced to low coverage. AD-LIBS is therefore likely to be useful in studies of non-model or ancient organisms that lack large amounts of genomic DNA. AD-LIBS can therefore expand the range of studies in which admixture mapping is a viable tool.