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#5 Introduction to Genetics for Archaeology

Lecture Five -history of Neanderthal DNA, Denisovans and admixtures, PCA plots, Japanese prehistory, deep population structures of the Khoisan, how to read a paper, the future of archaeogenetics

Welcome to the final lecture in this introductory series on archaeogenetics! This time we will bring everything we’ve covered so far to the table and explore some of the biggest topics in the field, starting with archaic humans - Neanderthals and Denisovans. The history of Neanderthal research, the problem of mtDNA and the rapid advances after 2010 are then followed up by the incredible discovery of the Denisovans and how genetics has opened up a new chapter in the absence of any comprehensive fossil record.

We’ll then briefly turn to some statistical and visualisation methods commonly employed in genetics papers - PCA plots and F-statistics. This will be followed up by a look at a great new 2024 paper on Japanese prehistory which explores much of what we’ve covered - genetic mutations, archaic introgression, admixtures, SNPs and more.

Finally we’ll look at how archaeogenetics discovered the deep populations structure of modern humans, by examining the genetics of the Khoisan and Pygmy hunter-gatherers.

I promised you that the aim was to get you reading genetics papers on your own by lecture five, so we then cover what to expect from a typical paper - the layout, presentation, style, where the data can be found, some of the problems and common traps. Lastly I give you some predictions for the future of the discipline, and some thoughts on how the field will evolve.

I truly hope you’ve enjoyed the course, please let me know your thoughts and if you would like to see other lectures and what topics interest you.

Grey Goose Chronicles
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