Knowledge of human haplotype structure has important implications for strategies of disease-gene mapping and for understanding human evolutionary history. Many attributes of SNPs and haplotypes appear to exhibit highly nonrandom behavior, suggesting past operation of selection or other nonneutral forces. We report the exceptional abundance of a particular haplotype pattern in which two high-frequency haplotypes have different alleles at every SNP site (hence the name "yin yang haplotypes"). Analysis of common haplotypes in 62 random genomic loci and 85 gene coding regions in humans shows that the proportion of the genome spanned by yin yang haplotypes is 75%-85%. Population data of 28 genomic loci in Drosophila melanogaster reveal a similar pattern. The high recurrence (≥85%) of these haplotype patterns in four distinct human populations suggests that the yin yang haplotypes are likely to predate the African diaspora. The pattern initially appeared to suggest deep population splitting or maintenance of ancient lineages by selection; however, coalescent simulation reveals that the yin yang phenomenon can be explained by strictly neutral evolution in a well-mixed population.
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