Human Population Genetics IEvolution and Variation

Published October 2007 28 lectures
Prof. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
Stanford University Medical School, USA
Prof. Marcus Feldman
Stanford University, USA
Summary

The Genetics of Human Populations by L. Cavalli-Sforza and W. Bodmer published in 1971 was the first book to study human genetic variation in space and time. Together with many other disciplines such as archeology, anthropology, demography, linguistics and others, this volume showed the importance of population genetics for reconstructing... read morehuman evolution. It also helped to supply the theoretical basis of applications to the study of genetic disease that go under the name of “genetic epidemiology”, to which a series of Henry Stewart Talks was dedicated. The book is still in press with Dover Books and remains a useful source for classical aspects of the discipline which are difficult to find elsewhere.

Clearly the field has since developed in many directions that make central use of a strong theoretical background from the scaffolds offered by the mathematical theory of evolution and strong statistical methodology. These methodological applied aspects are handled in more detail in the “Genetic Epidemiology” series. In our series on Human Population Genetics, the level of treatment is more general and at a more qualitative level, using few if any formulas. It aims at general concepts essential for understanding the sources and maintenance of genetic variation in the evolutionary process leading to our species, and how this variation changes in time and space.