Investigating regional human population histories in North America using genomics

Date
2018-10-10
Authors
Reynolds, Austin Williamson
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Abstract

The application of genomic technologies to the study of ancient DNA over the past 10 years has revolutionized our understanding of human prehistory across the globe. A lot of work has been done resolving the past migrations of human populations on the continental scale, but less focus has been given to understanding the population history of small regions or answering archaeological questions presented at a single site. Moreover, despite the increase in genomic datasets American indigenous and admixed populations continue to be vastly underrepresented in the genomics literature, where ~95% of studies focus on either European or East Asian populations. A growing number of researchers are applying genomics techniques with modern and ancient populations in the Americas to fill in these gaps and answer exciting questions on these smaller geographic scales. This dissertation uses genome-wide data collected from indigenous populations in North America to address a number of regional and local questions. Ancient genomic data is used to address the population dynamics through time at the archaeological site of Xaltocan in central Mexico. Genomic data from modern populations is then used to understand the effects of geography and colonial history on genetic diversity within Mexico. Finally, using genomic data from populations around North America, I explore the evidence for adaptation of these groups to their various environments

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