Category Archives: Genetics

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 70 Comments

The Greatest Generation

When you compare our trifling selves with the generation that landed in Normandy, invented the atomic bomb, and wrote The Big Sleep, it doesn’t look good. You could easily get the impression that the United States went straight from a … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 108 Comments

Centum and Satem

I may well be wrong, but there’s no point in waiting until they dig up and sequence every last body in Eurasia. Time to stick my neck out. Here’s my current best guess concerning the Indo-European expansion: It all started … Continue reading

Posted in Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics | Tagged , , , | 99 Comments

Yamna and Corded Ware

I hear some interesting things from the recent ASHG conference, mostly from Razib Khan. It seems that the dead have spoken again: it turns out that the genetic transition in northern Europe  coincides with the advent of the Corded Ware/Battleaxe … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Genetics, Genghis -Khan effect, Indo-European | 45 Comments

Ketosis as a way of life

There’s a new article out in ASHG that discusses a regional selective sweep in CPT1A, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A, which plays an essential role in fatty acid metabolism. A mutation has become extremely common, with a gene frequency > 50%, in … Continue reading

Posted in Dietary adaptations, Eskimo, Genetics | Tagged | 64 Comments

Ust’-Ishim & the Old Race

There’s a new report out in Nature, on the DNA results from a 45,000 AMH skeleton found in Western Siberia.  It’s the oldest radiocarbon-dated modern human outside Africa and the Middle East. The Neanderthal admixture is there,  about the same … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, European Prehistory, Genetics, Neanderthals | Tagged | 29 Comments

We Three Kings

A recent article says that 40% of Chinese Y-chromosomes originated from 3 men in the late neolithic.  This pattern,  fantastic success for a particular paternal lineage, has been seen before, with the Golden Family (descendants of Genghis Khan) and the … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 54 Comments