Hello, and welcome to this talk.
I'm Mark Jobling, a professor
in the Department of Genetics
at the University of Leicester, UK.
The purpose of this talk is
to give you a broad overview
of human migrations and
to touch on a number
of topics that will be covered in
more depth elsewhere in the course.
I hope to provide a taster,
and to inspire your interest
in human population genetics.
There are 7 billion of
us humans living in most
of the habitable area of our planet,
from hot deserts to icy tundra,
from low-lying plains to
high mountain plateaus
and tiny, isolated islands
to large cities with millions
of cosmopolitan inhabitants.
We show a lot of
This includes obvious differences,
such as hair, skin, and eye color,
height and body
proportions, and less
obvious ones involving
and disease susceptibilities.
How can genetics
contribute to understanding
how this situation came about?
Studying human population history
charms with our natural interest
in our origins, but it also has
practical uses in understanding
the distribution of disease alleles
and the origins and significance
of phenotypic differences.
The raw material we need for this
genetic study of human migrations
is genome variation data.
As we'll see, this is now
technically quite easy to obtain.
We also need DNA samples from
current human populations.
Sometimes these can be more tricky.
Thanks to technological advances, we
can now also combine these with DNA
from ancient human remains.
Finally, we need models for
mutation processes and models
for demographic change in
populations that allow us to do
and to interpret the
data in a useful way.