Date(s) - May 3, 2018
11:15 am - 12:15 pm
LSC 376-378, Lory Student Center
Inferring Human Origins and Migrations in Africa with Genomic Data
The African continent contains a wide variety of distinct and challenging environments occupied by diverse human populations. I will discuss how characterizing the genetic architecture of phenotypes, like skin pigmentation and malarial resistance, can contribute to a deeper understanding of when and where our African ancestors lived in different environments. In particular, phenotypic adaptation to regions within Africa may provide clues to the ancestral location(s) of modern humans via tests for local adaptation to specific features (e.g. ultraviolet radiation, malaria). In the past, I have argued for a geographic origin of Homo sapiens in southern Africa. I will explore patterns of genetic diversity across Africa and discuss whether genetic data is concordant with archaeological and paleontological data, and suggest directions for future research.
Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources.
About the Speaker
Brenna Henn is a population geneticist in the Department of Anthropology and in the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. She began her research by studying the deep population structure and complex migration patterns of African hunter-gatherer groups. Motivated by her PhD training in anthropology, she aims to approach questions of genomic and phenotypic diversity from an interdisciplinary standpoint. She continues to primarily focus on African populations. Her field sites include efforts to collect DNA samples, demographic data and biomedical phenotypes in the Kalahari Desert, Cederberg Mountains and the Richtersveld of South Africa, as well as collaborations in Namibia and Ethiopia.