Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Svante Pääbo lecture on his recent genetic work

TED has a video up of Svante Pääbo discussing his (team's) recent research on the genetics of Late Pleistocene human populations. It's a good primer on the latest work on Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA, and their implications for the relationship of these populations to early modern humans.


Millán Mozota said...

great lecture.
Thanks for sharing, Julien.

Julien Riel-Salvatore said...

my pleasure!


CamArchGrad said...

Semi topical,

Did you see this press release?

"New mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that Neandertals didn’t occasionally interbreed with Stone Age humans, as proposed in a recent study of Neandertal nuclear DNA, say evolutionary biologist Guido Barbujani of the University of Ferrara in Italy and his colleagues. "

It's still such an evolving field. I remember 10 years ago see Paul Mellars, corner Mirta Larh and try and get her to say with certainty that Neandertals and AMH didn't interbreed. After much hedging she said the didn't.

Julien Riel-Salvatore said...

Thanks for your comment. I did see it, but haven't had a chance to dive in the paper yet, so I'll abstain from commenting just yet.

I will, however, say that it is ironic that this news came out the same day as news broke that modern humans had mated with yet another archaic population, this one in Africa:

I'll certainly have more to post on these various papers soon...


terryt said...

Finally got around to looking at the video. I especially liked his comment at the end, 'We have always mixed'. In fact I'm certain that is the case during the evolution of all species, not just humans. A subspecies becomes isolated and changes. If it becomes adapted to a particular aspect of the environment (which is very likely in a subspecies at the geographic margin) members of it can then spread back through the whole species, adding its genes. This would explain the enigma of 'punctuated equilibrium'.