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Dr. Toomas Kivisild

University Lecturer in Human Evolutionary Genetics
Tel: +44 (0)1223 764703

Research group

Post-Doctoral Researchers
Talal Mohammad

PhD students
Alexia Cardona
Christina A Eichstaedt
F. Mircea Iliescu
Alexander Moerseburg
Luca Pagani
Zuzana Faltyskova


My research interests include most generally human evolution and evolutionary population genetics, with a particular focus on questions relating global genetic population structure with evolutionary processes such as selection, drift, migrations and admixture.



Genome-wide scans of natural selection
Genetic basis of human cold adaptation
Genetic basis of human pigmentation variation
Genetic basis of human high altitude variation
Genetic history of Tierra del Fuego
Genetic history of hunter-gatherers in Madagascar
Ethiopian Genome Project
Kuwait Wellbeing


An inter-disciplinary approach for identifying evolutionary active regions in the human genome. ERC Starting Investigator grant FP7 – 261213


Gallego Romero I, Basu Mallick C, Liebert A, Crivellaro F, Chaubey G, Itan Y, Metspalu M, Eaaswarkhanth M, Pitchappan R, Villems R, Reich D, Singh L, Thangaraj K, Thomas MG, Swallow DM, Mirazón Lahr M, Kivisild T. (2012). Herders of Indian and European Cattle Share Their Predominant Allele for Lactase Persistence. Mol Biol Evol. 29:249-60

Metspalu M, Romero IG, Yunusbayev B, Chaubey G, Mallick CB, Hudjashov G, Nelis M, Mägi R, Metspalu E, Remm M, Pitchappan R, Singh L, Thangaraj K, Villems R, Kivisild T (2011) Shared and unique components of human population structure and genome-wide signals of positive selection in South Asia. Am J Hum Genet. 89(6):731-44

Chaubey G, Metspalu M, Choi Y, Mägi R, Gallego Romero I, Soares P, van Oven M, Behar DM, Rootsi S, Hudjashov G, Basu Mallick C, Karmin M, Nelis M, Parik J, Reddy AG,  Metspalu E, van Driem G, Xue Y, Tyler-Smith C, Thangaraj K, Singh L, Remm M, Richards MB, Mirazon-Lahr M, Kayser M, Villems R, Kivisild T (2011). Population Genetic Structure in Indian Austroasiatic speakers: The Role of Landscape Barriers and Sex-specific Admixture. Mol Biol Evol. 28(2):1013-24.

Underhill P, Kivisild T (2007) Use of Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA population structure in tracing human migrations. Annu. Rev. Genet. 41:539–64

Kivisild T, Shen P, Wall D, Do B, Sung R, Davis K, Passarino G, Underhill PA, Scharfe C, Torroni A, Scozzari R, Modiano D, Coppa A, de Knijff P, Feldman M, Cavalli-Sforza LL, Oefner PJ. (2006) The role of selection in the evolution of human mitochondrial genomes. Genetics 172(1):373-87.



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