Four Field Colloquium Series: “Human evolutionary genomics: Implications for human origins and disease” by Sarah Tishkoff
Africa contains the greatest levels of human genetic variation and is the source of the worldwide range expansion of all modern humans. And yet relatively little is known about genomic variation in ethnically diverse African populations. Knowledge of genetic structure within Africa has important implications for the design and implementation of disease association studies in Africans and African Americans, and for reconstructing modern human origins. Additionally, studies of genetic adaptation in Africa have important implications for identifying genes that play an important role in human evolution and disease. The African populations included in this study practice diverse subsistence patterns and have diverse diets (hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, agriculturalists, and agro-pastoralists), and live in diverse environments with differing pathogen exposure (tropical forest, savannah, coastal, desert, low altitude, and high altitude) and, therefore, are likely to have experienced local adaptation. In this talk I will discuss results of analyses of genome-scale genetic variation in geographically, linguistically, and ethnically diverse African populations in order to reconstruct human evolutionary history in Africa as well as the genetic basis of adaption to diverse environments.