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The history of human and Neanderthal evolution written in our genomes

PhD defence, Wednesday 22 September 2021, Moisès Coll Macià

2021.09.22 | Mette Nielsen

Moisès Coll Macià

Photo credit: Anna Troya Bruguer. Modern humans (blue figure) contain 2-6% of Neanderthal genome (orange puzzle piece) that can be put together with pieces from other individuals to complete the jigsaw puzzle of the Neanderthal genome (orange figure).

Human evolutionary history is a complex narration of migrations around the globe and intricate mixtures with Neanderthals and Denisovans. As a consequence, 2 to 6% of the genetic material of living humans descends from the extinct archaic humans. My PhD consisted in identifying the distinct archaic fragments drifting thousands of our genomes today in order to piece together the jigsaw puzzle that is the Neanderthal genome. With such valuable information in hand, we investigate insights about who were our closest relatives, when and where we met with them and discover features about our own human nature. For example, we found that the mutation profile of Neanderthal DNA is more consistent with Neanderthal children having older mothers and younger fathers than modern human children. These changes and others found in parental ages among human populations might be hinting to differences in life conditions or cultural advancements of the last tens of thousands of years.

The PhD study was completed at Bioinformatics Research Centre, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Wednesday, 22 September 2021 at 18.00 CEST
Place: Building 1110, room 223, Bioinformatics Research Centre, Aarhus University, C.F. Møllers Alle 8, DK-8000 Aarhus C.

Title of PhD thesis: Insights into human evolution from archaic introgression patterns and mutational signatures

Contact information: Moisès Coll Macià, e-mail: moicoll@birc.au.dk, tel.: +45 9185 7668
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Graham Coop, Department of Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis, USA
Assistant professor Benjamin Vernot, Evolutionary anthropology, Max-Planck Insitute Leipzig, Germany
Lektor Thomas Bataillon (Chair), Bioinformatics Research Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:
Professor Mikkel Heide Schierup, Bioinformatics Research Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
Due to the coronavirus situation, the PhD thesis will not be available for reading at the offices of the PhD administration. Instead, interested parties may send an e-mail to gradschool.nat@au.dk to receive a digital copy of the PhD thesis. Please note, it may in certain cases be necessary to make an individual arrangement to read the PhD thesis.

PhD defence
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