UC Berkeley, USA
Dr. Nielsen’s work is on statistical and population genetic analyses of genomic data, in particular methods for detecting natural selection, describing population genetic variation, inferring demography, and methods for association mapping. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 1998, worked as a postdoc at Harvard University 1998-2000, was an Assistant Professor at Cornell University 2000-2004, and has been a Professor at the University of Copenhagen since 2004 and at UC Berkeley since 2008.
As the first anatomically modern humans spread around the globe, they had to adapt to a new and diverse set of environments. Today we can find the traces of this evolutionary process in the genomes of modern humans. In this talk, I will give two examples of human physiological adaptation to the local environment. The first example concerns physiological adaptation to the hypoxic environment of the high-altitude plateau of Tibet. Tibetans harbor genetic variants in two genes, EPAS1 and EGLN1, that affect hemoglobin production. Recently, we have shown that the adaptive EPAS1 haplotype was transferred into humans by introgression from Denisovans. The second example is adaptation of the indigenous people of Greenland, the Inuit, to life in the Arctic, including low temperatures and a diet based primarily on fish and marine mammals and rich in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Host: Mattias Jakobsson
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