Ancient DNA and human evolutionary inference

Published on March 18, 2015 Reviewed on October 7, 2020   40 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

Hi, welcome everyone. I'm Mattias Jakobsson. I'm Professor of Genetics at Uppsala University, and I will be talking about ancient DNA in the human evolutionary inference. And I'm mainly going to be focusing on anatomically modern humans, and what we actually can learn by looking into genetic information from modern humans from the last, say, 10,000-5,000 years.
So my outline is the following; I'm going to start by talking about some patterns of genetic variation in Europe, and how they can be interpreted in terms of the neolithic transition and the introduction of farming into Europe. And while I've done that and only focused on modern day genetic variation, I'm going to switch gear a bit, and in the second part of this talk I'm going to talk about ancient DNA methods for anatomically modern humans. I will talk a little bit about the challenges, and I'll talk a little bit about the potentials of using this data of understanding our past. After I've completed the second part, I'll come back to the Neolithic transition and what we can learn about the past in Europe, as an example, focus on Scandinavia and Southern Europe, and then I'll try to summarize all this into a synthesis.
So it's well known from the archaeological record that farming practices started some 10,000 to 12,000 years in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, and that it spread relatively rapidly over the next 5,000 years to western, and southern, and northern Europe. And the ruling theory here has been that the farming actually spread as a movement of ideas, or a movement of culture, or even an idea that was actually invented by the local hunter gatherers living in the various parts of Europe at the time.

Ancient DNA and human evolutionary inference

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