Cross-talk between cultural and genetic evolution in humans

Published on April 21, 2015   46 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

I'm Professor Evelyne Heyer. I work in the field of Genetic Anthropology. That means that I try to understand the behavior and the diversity of humans using genetic data. I work at the National History Museum in Paris. My lecture will be about the cross-talk between cultural and genetic evolution in humans.
As you all know, there are several evolutionary forces that work for all living animals or plants. You have forces called the genomic forces, like mutation, recombination. You have also natural selection, and you have also demographic forces like migration and drift. All these forces interact in the genetic diversity, but what interests us is that in humans, not only in humans but extremely important in humans, you have social behavior and lifestyle, and the idea is to try to understand how social behavior and lifestyle have also an impact on the genetic diversity and on the evolution of our species. Social behavior and lifestyle can impact genetic diversity through the demographic process like migration and drift and also through the selection process.
For example, in neutral diversity you have several controlled traits that can have an impact: language, social organization, and cultural transmission of reproductive success. On the non-neutral diversity through selection, you have all what is called the bio-cultural evolution, that is now called the Niche Theory, like the adaptation to pathogens and to diet. During my lecture, I will focus on the impact on neutral diversity on social organization and then on cultural transmission of reproductive success. So let's look about social organization.

Cross-talk between cultural and genetic evolution in humans

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