AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Dissertation Research: The Application of Human Alu Diversity to A Model of Sudden Population Expansion: Pennsylvania State Univ University Park

Mark Stoneking

[email protected]

ABSTRACT P.I. Mark Stoneking/Steve Sherry SBR- 9318826 The last decade has seen the adoption of molecular technology in surveys of human genetic diversity. The purpose of these studies has been a clarification of the human evolutionary process. One study in particular, from Alan Wilson's lab, initiated a vigorous period of research on the information contint of phylogenetic trees, their underlying assumptions and their potential role in reliably inferring past evolutionary events. A second theoretical impetus centers on the effecto of ancient population growth on a type of molecular data: the distribution of pairwise mutational differences between individuals (called the mismatch distribution). Human mismatch distributions should preserva record of popuations expansions and spearations in the remote past. Expansion times have been identified for different populations from 30,000 to 180,000 years ago, and that significant expansion occurred during thelate middle and upper Paleolithic (40,000 to 125,000 years ago). The latest hypothesis to emerge from these sorts of studies center around a gradual Middle Paleolithic migration out of Africa followed by later regional episodes of rapid population growth during the Upper Paleolithic, although all inference is currently based on variation at a single genetic locus. This project will satisfy the theoretical needs for multiple, independent measures of population diversity, by analyzing Alu repeats. It will also further the technical capabilities of an excellent young scientist. *** Panthrojfried9318826.abs ! ! ! D H H ( Times New Roman Symbol & Arial D D D " h Tt Est E = Jonathan Friedlaender Jonathan Friedlaender

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