The genetic world in 3-D

By Razib Khan | March 24, 2011 6:44 pm

When Zack first mooted the idea of the Harappa Ancestry Project I had no idea what was coming down the pipe. I wonder if his daughter and wife are curious as to what’s happened to their computer! Since collecting the first wave of participants he’s been a result generating machine. Today he produced a fascinating three dimensional PCA (modifying Doug McDonald’s Javascript) using his “Reference 1” data set. He rescaled the dimensions appropriately so that they reflect how much of the genetic variance they explain. The largest principal component of variance is naturally Africa vs. non-Africa, the second is west to east in Eurasia, and the third is a north to south Eurasian axis.

I decided to be a thief and take Zack’s Javascript and resize it a bit to fit the width of my blog, blow up the font size, as well as change the background color and aspects of positioning. All to suit my perverse taste. You see the classic “L” shaped distribution familiar from the two-dimensional plots, but observe the “pucker” in the third dimension of South Asian, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian, populations.

The the topology of the first three independent dimensions of genetic variance of world populations kind of reminds me of a B-2 bomber:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Anthroplogy, Genetics, Genomics

Comments (5)

Links to this Post

  1. My Genetic Journey II | Harappa Ancestry Project | March 25, 2011
  1. Denis Vluegt

    Razib, when you publish How To Create Eye-Candy Graphics That Blow Your Socks Off, I want a signed copy 🙂

  2. You are all for capitalization. 😉

  3. Perahu

    Malagasy people would fill the gap between Africa and Asia nicely.

  4. Awesome! I could be looking at this for hours…I prefer to compare it to a hang glider though 😉


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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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