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Previous studies that pooled Indian populations from a wide variety of geographical locations, have obtained contradictory conclusions about the processes of the establishment of the Varna caste system and its genetic impact on the origins and demographic histories of Indian populations. To further investigate these questions we took advantage that both Y(More)
Afghanistan has held a strategic position throughout history. It has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and later became a crossroad for expanding civilizations and empires. Afghanistan's location, history, and diverse ethnic groups present a unique opportunity to explore how nations and ethnic groups emerged, and how major cultural evolutions and(More)
Differences in plant annual/perennial habit are hypothesized to cause a generation time effect on divergence rates. Previous studies that compared rates of divergence for internal transcribed spacer (ITS1 and ITS2) sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) in angiosperms have reached contradictory conclusions about whether differences in generation times(More)
The mitochondrial DNA hypervariable segment I (HVS-I) is widely used in studies of human evolutionary genetics, and therefore accurate estimates of mutation rates among nucleotide sites in this region are essential. We have developed a novel maximum-likelihood methodology for estimating site-specific mutation rates from partial phylogenetic information,(More)
Insertions and deletions (indels) in chloroplast noncoding regions are common genetic markers to estimate population structure and gene flow, although relatively little is known about indel evolution among recently diverged lineages such as within plant families. Because indel events tend to occur nonrandomly along DNA sequences, recurrent mutations may(More)
The Levant is a region in the Near East with an impressive record of continuous human existence and major cultural developments since the Paleolithic period. Genetic and archeological studies present solid evidence placing the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula as the first stepping-stone outside Africa. There is, however, little understanding of(More)
Cultural expansions, including of religions, frequently leave genetic traces of differentiation and in-migration. These expansions may be driven by complex doctrinal differentiation, together with major population migrations and gene flow. The aim of this study was to explore the genetic signature of the establishment of religious communities in a region(More)
Basque people have received considerable attention from anthropologists, geneticists, and linguists during the last century due to the singularity of their language and to other cultural and biological characteristics. Despite the multidisciplinary efforts performed to address the questions of the origin, uniqueness, and heterogeneity of Basques, the(More)
The biological role of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region in mtDNA replication remains unclear. In a worldwide survey of mtDNA variation in the general population, we have identified a novel large control region deletion spanning positions 16154 to 16307 (m.16154_16307del154). The population prevalence of this deletion is low, since it was only(More)
The Middle East was a funnel of human expansion out of Africa, a staging area for the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution, and the home to some of the earliest world empires. Post LGM expansions into the region and subsequent population movements created a striking genetic mosaic with distinct sex-based genetic differentiation. While prior studies have(More)