Demographic history of ancient Europeans

SNIC 2017/7-259


SNAC Small

Principal Investigator:

Torsten G√ľnther


Uppsala universitet

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

10610: Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (methods development to be 10203)




Demographic history and selection leave their footprints in our genome. Population genomics can trace back some of these processes by studying contemporary genetic variation. However, such studies have some inherent uncertainties as they draw conclusions about our ancestors without analyzing them. Recent advances in technology allow us to extract and sequence DNA from ancient samples and to add the dimension of time to population genomic research. We are proposing to analyze genomic information from early Europeans who lived between 20000 and 4000 years before present. Population genomic frameworks will be developed to cope with the challenges imposed by this type of data and to incorporate the additional dimension of time into our analyses. The increased geographic, temporal and genomic coverage will provide significant insights into human history and the demographic processes that shaped the genomes of Europeans. Comparing ancient and contemporary populations also opens up new opportunities for the study of selection as we can trace selected alleles back in time. Together with the information obtained from genome-wide association studies, which we will use to predict the phenotypes of early Europeans, we will gain important new knowledge about the history of human disease and how these traits were shaped by selection.