Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37066254
Link to DOI – 10.1101/2023.04.06.535944
bioRxiv 2023 Apr; ():
Barton et al . 1 raise several statistical concerns regarding our original analyses 2 that highlight the challenge of inferring natural selection using ancient genomic data. We show here that these concerns have limited impact on our original conclusions. Specifically, we recover the same signature of enrichment for high F ST values at the immune loci relative to putatively neutral sites after switching the allele frequency estimation method to a maximum likelihood approach, filtering to only consider known human variants, and down-sampling our data to the same mean coverage across sites. Furthermore, using permutations, we show that the rs2549794 variant near ERAP2 continues to emerge as the strongest candidate for selection (p = 1.2×10 -5 ), falling below the Bonferroni-corrected significance threshold recommended by Barton et al . Importantly, the evidence for selection on ERAP2 is further supported by functional data demonstrating the impact of the ERAP2 genotype on the immune response to Y. pestis and by epidemiological data from an independent group showing that the putatively selected allele during the Black Death protects against severe respiratory infection in contemporary populations.