"Recent Human Evolution as Revealed by the Neandertal Genome," presented by Ed Green of UCSC for the Morrison Institute Winter Colloquium

Recent technological advances have enabled large-scale retrieval and sequencing of DNA from our closest relatives, the extinct Neandertals. To detect regions of recent positive selection in humans, to better understand our relationship to Neandertals, and to eventually understand Neandertal-specific biology Green's group recently embarked on a project to sequence the complete Neandertal genome. To achieve this goal, several technological advances were required in recovery and identification of ancient DNA sequence from fossil bones. Having passed a milestone of 1-fold genome coverage, they have begun to analyze these data to address questions about recent human evolution. From these data, they estimate an average Neandertal-human genome divergence of about 850,000 years and a population split time of about 300,000 years. The latter estimate is incompatible with one model of hominin evolution, namely that Neandertals are the descendants of H. heidelbergensis. Because Neandertals share some of the genetic diversity still extant within human populations, they make an ideal genetic comparison to test for recent positive selection in humans. Using Neandertal genome sequence, Green has analyzed human diversity data to find regions where little or no extant variation is shared with Neandertals. These are candidates for the selective events that form the genetic basis of being fully modern humans.

Date and Time:
 Wednesday, February 10, 2010.  4:15 PM.
Approximate duration of 1.25 hour(s).
Herrin Hall, Room T-175  [Map]
General Public
Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies
Free and open to the public.
Last Modified:
February 9, 2010