Seminar, 23. May 2019, Stephan Schiffels

Thursday, 23. May 2019, 16.15 p.m. 

Carl-Zeiß-Str. 3, Lecture Hall 6

Genetic history – What ancient and modern genomes tell us about our human past

Dr. Stephan Schiffels
(MPI for the Science of Human History, Jena)

Our human past leaves traces in our genomes, via population size changes, admixture events and migration patterns. We can reconstruct these events by genetic analyses of genomes from present-day populations, as well as increasingly also from ancient DNA. In this talk, I will showcase three examples to introduce the field of modern “Genetic History”: First, I will present a new analytical approach to investigate our species’ deep population history in the last million years from present-day genomes. Second, I will demonstrate how we used ancient DNA from early medieval remains in Great Britain to investigate the nature and consequences of the Anglo-Saxon migration period. Third, I will introduce our most recent project, in which we use ancient and modern DNA to investigate the peopling of the North American Arctic in the last few thousand years. In all three examples I will highlight challenges in bioinformatics and population-genetic theory that we addressed with new methods and efficient implementations to analyse genome-wide data. I will show how our research fits into the broader multi-disciplinary endeavour of studying the human past, and point out potential future directions for this emerging field.