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Population Genetics And The Migration Of Modern Humans (Homo Sapiens)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on some aspects of the most recent 100.000 years or so of human evolution, i.e. the emergence modern humans-Homo sapiens-in Africa and their migration out of Africa and subsequent global dispersions. One consequence of the mobile past is the non-random global distribution of genetic variation. What makes the study of human migration by means of genetic research tools unique is the simple fact that genetic information can only migrate from one geographical location to another if the carrier of it (i.e. the human individual) migrates. The combined analyses of gene trees with geospatial (location) information from the same samples-sometimes combined with population demography data-essentially allow the reliable reconstruction of migration routes and population structure at a global scale, but also at the extreme micro-geographic scale. The chapter describes a few examples of this in some detail.

Keywords: Africa; genetic variation; Homo sapiens; human migration



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