This is the blog for GW students taking Human Evolutionary Genetics. This site is for posting interesting tidbits on: the patterns and processes of human genetic variation;human origins and migration; molecular adaptations to environment, lifestyle and disease; ancient and forensic DNA analyses; and genealogical reconstructions.

GWHEG figure

GWHEG figure

Friday, November 27, 2015

Population movements during the Neolithic revolution

An article published in the journal Nature this week reconstitutes the population movements in Eurasia at the time of the Neolithic revolution. The Harvard geneticist David Reich and his team sequenced the genomes of 230 fossils from that period.

The results suggest that lactase tolerance was strongly selected for as well as SLC22A4 which facilitates digestion of wheat and other crops. However, this gene is also linked to increased digestive disorders. In addition, skin color changes were documented. Light skin color would have been selected for when people started having a less vitamin D-rich diet with decreased meat consumption.  Lighter skin absorbs vitamin D from the sun better than darker skin. The study also reports data on changes in stature and population movements.

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