New HRAS Feature: Include/Exclude Countries by Continent or Group

One of the powerful features distinguishing HRAS’ functionality from PhyloGeographer is that it allows the user to recalculate the theoretical, approximate migration paths on-the-fly after specifying a set of countries whose samples should be excluded as outliers.

While I did add some logic to the algorithm that penalizes outliers to some extent, using a continuous function, it is preferential to completely exclude certain extreme outliers that will nonetheless otherwise skew the computation in a false direction.

The initial functionality required the user to click each country to exclude. This was tedious because in practice we usually want to exclude a large group of countries in a particular direction from an assumed approximate origin region.

Now I have added a set of continents and regions to automatically exclude/include larger sets of countries. The continents and regions are not in alphabetical order but ordered from west to east.

As an example, for J2b-L283, we want to avoid a westward skewing effect that samples tracing their male lines to the New World (and not further back to the place in Europe that their ancestors came from before that) would otherwise create. Now we can click “Americas” to exclude all countries from the Americas as outliers in one click.

You can exclude all of South Asia by clicking “South Asia” under the “Regions” section.

You can exclude all of Asia except South Asia by first clicking “Asia”, which will automatically cause the “South Asia” checkbox to become marked (because South Asia is a subset of Asia) and then by clicking “South Asia” which will uncheck all the South Asian countries’ individual checkboxes.

The country group checkbox logic is simplistic. A box will appear checked only if every country in the group is excluded. Checking a box excludes all countries in the group, unchecking removes the exclusions (status quo).

For J2b-L283, whose oldest samples in Europe are from the western and central Balkans, I can now exclude all of the Americas, British Isles and Scandinavia as outliers with just three clicks.

Note that Russia is a bit problematic. While it spans Europe and Asia I follow a common convention to classify it as Europe. It will require a future update to add country-region specificity to the exclusions in order to include/exclude the regions of Russia lying in Europe vs Asia.

These posts are the opinion of Hunter Provyn, a haplogroup researcher in J-M241 and J-M102.

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