Adam Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

If you have been following this blog along with others, like GNXP, you can tell that the field of ancient DNA and population genetics is chaotic. It seems like every week we are adding more layers of genetic data in attempt to uncover the relentless and complex pattern on how we peopled the Earth. A... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Introgression Gave Us Back Even More Ancient DNA

Tony Capra of Vanderbilt University in Nashville hypothesized last week at the annual meeting of The American Society of Human Genetics that genes we have considered to variant of Neanderthals and inherited to modern humans outside of Africa are not particularly Neanderthal genes, but rather, represent ancestral humans. In other words, we can thank Neanderthals... Continue Reading →

On the Evolution of Skin Tones In Africa

Most associate dark skin with African peoples, but there are a wide variety of populations who represent an even wider array of skin tones, from the light beige skin of the San to the deep black skin of the Dinka. A new study published online this week in Science, identifies a handful of new gene variants responsible... Continue Reading →

The Genetics of Inuit Cold Weather Adaptation

A new study in the journal Molecular Biology & Evolution analyzed the genomes of nearly 200 Inuits, looking particularly at TBX15/WARS2 alleles that affect body fat distribution. They compared these alleles to other people, as well as prehistoric populations like the Neanderthals and one Denisovan. Their comparative analysis identified unique alleles within these loci that... Continue Reading →

The Oldest Humans, Aboriginal Australians

A genetic and cultural analysis, published in Nature, of 83 Aboriginal Australians and 25 Papuans from New Guinea suggests there was just one wave of humans out of Africa, 72,000 years ago. These these early migrants gave rise to all contemporary non-Africans, including indigenous Australians and Papuans. This group descended directly from the first people to... Continue Reading →

No, Neanderthals Didn’t Give Us Schizophrenia

Thanks to twin studies, schizophrenia is one of the few mental illnesses that we know have a genetic inheritance pattern. Schizophrenia often presents as a inability to separate reality from non-reality, where patients often experience hallucinations and stimuli that do not exist, such as hearing voices. Just how this deleterious disease came about to be... Continue Reading →

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