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Did Neanderthals interbreed with humans? Evvie Jagoda

Did Neanderthals interbreed with humans, and if so, what impact could these ancient trysts have on modern human populations?

Evvie discusses previous work done on trying to answer these questions and explains how she hopes to add to this research with her MPhil project.

Evvie is a Gates Scholar studying for an Mphil in Biological Anthropological Sciences with Dr. Toomas Kivisild's laboratory. She previously completed her BA in Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species at Columbia University. For her MPhil project, she will be studying the genomes of people living in Southeast Asia and Siberia.

The goal of this project is to examine the genetic relationships among populations in these areas and the role that gene flow and migration have played in the development of the genetic makeup of these populations.

"I hope to use this research to learn about the transmission of genetic material derived from interbreeding with the Denisovans, an extinct hominin species recently discovered in Siberia. This research also has the potential to lead to medical advances because by studying the relationship between modern human genomes and those of extinct hominin species, we will be able to discover disease-causing and disease-resistant genes that were transmitted to modern humans by our ancient relatives."

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Presented at Churchill College, 13th November 2014.

Image: Neanderthal Man. Photograph by Erich Ferdinand