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BioAnth Courses: B16 – Genomes: Ancient, Modern and Mixed

b16B16 – Genomes: Ancient, Modern and Mixed

This paper explores human evolutionary genetics as a tool for understanding human diversity today.

The paper discusses core concepts and principles of human genetics and the tools through which adaptive evolution and population genetic histories can be inferred. It then explores key human genetic adaptations - dietary (lactose tolerance), environmental (high altitude, spleen size, pigmentation), immunological (malaria, plague, innate immunity) and developmental (stature, fat deposition). Having considered gene-based patterns, it introduces the main historical processes - dispersals, migrations, admixture - that have shaped human diversity through time, and discusses examples of gene-culture co-evolution. The paper ends with a discussion of the impact of ancient genomes on our understanding of both adaptive evolution and genetic history, as well as the extent to which admixture with ancient hominins has impacted on our diversity and adaptability.


It may be taken as an option by:

  • students doing the Biological Anthropology Track in Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing the Biological Anthropology/Archaeology Joint Track as Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students who have completed Part IB MVST, NST, PBS or Part IIA HSPS and are doing a one-year Part II in Biological Anthropology as part of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing Part II PBS and NST or Part IIB Archaeology
  • NST Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences students as part of a Major in Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour


Paper Coordinator: TBA
Lent Term: 16 lectures & seminars
Assessment: 2 hour exam