Genes, peoples and languages.

  title={Genes, peoples and languages.},
  author={Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza},
  journal={Scientific American},
  volume={265 5},
The genetic history of a group of populations is usually analyzed by reconstructing a tree of their origins. Reliability of the reconstruction depends on the validity of the hypothesis that genetic differentiation of the populations is mostly due to population fissions followed by independent evolution. If necessary, adjustment for major population admixtures can be made. Dating the fissions requires comparisons with paleoanthropological and paleontological dates, which are few and uncertain. A… 
Genetics, Linguistics, and Prehistoric Migrations: An Analysis of California Indian Mitochondrial DNA Lineages
Examination of the distribution of particular haplotypes within each haplogroup further elucidated the separate population histories of these three language families, consistent with the hypothesis that an early coastal expansion occurred during the initial peopling of the Americas.
The impact of group fissions on genetic structure in Native South America and implications for human evolution.
The analyses of Y-chromosome STRs and mtDNA d-loop polymorphisms suggest that other population processes, including village movements, inter-village migration, and polygynous marriage, affect genetic structure in ways not predicted by a simple model of patrilineal fissions.
A Bayesian Approach to Genome/Linguistic Relationships in Native South Americans
This work compared discordant models of language classifications to the current Native American genome-wide variation using realistic demographic models analyzed under an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) framework and indicated a higher posterior probability for the classification proposed by Greenberg in 1987.
Influence of language and ancestry on genetic structure of contiguous populations: A microsatellite based study on populations of Orissa
The extent of genetic differentiation in the contemporary caste and tribal groups of Orissa is highly significant and constitutes two distinct genetic clusters, suggesting that the genetic structure of populations in a geographical region is primarily influenced by their ancestry and not by socio-cultural hierarchy or language.
Is a multivariate consensus representation of genetic relationships among populations always meaningful?
This article describes a method that is based on principal component analysis and Mantel correlations, using a two-step process that suggests that for closely related populations, it is not always possible to accept the hypothesis that an increase in the number of markers will increase the reliability of the typology analysis.
Craniometric variation, genetic theory, and modern human origins.
This work presents a model of within-group phenotypic variation and a method for analyzing ancient population structure, which provides estimates of ancient migration, and suggests that the long-term effective population size was greatest in Africa.
Y-chromosome E haplogroups: their distribution and implication to the origin of Afro-Asiatic languages and pastoralism
The combined analysis of 17 bi-allelic markers in 1214 Y chromosomes together with cultural background of 49 populations displayed in various metrics indicate a major contribution of East African populations to the foundation of the macrohaplogroup, suggesting a diversification that predates the appearance of some cultural traits and the subsequent expansion that is more associated with the cultural and linguistic diversity witnessed today.
Genetics of population isolates
The present review evaluates the historical context and features of some genetic isolates with emphasis on the basic population genetic concepts of inbreeding and genetic drift, and also the state‐of‐the‐art in mapping traits, both Mendelian and complex, on genetic isolate.
Evaluating Population Origins and Interpretations of Identity: a Case Study of the Lemba of South Africa
This study compares genetics and linguistics of the Lemba, a population living primarily in South Africa, as a means to identify any possible correlation between these two sources, to better
Genetics and southern African prehistory: an archaeological view.
  • P. Mitchell
  • Sociology
    Journal of anthropological sciences = Rivista di antropologia : JASS
  • 2010
This paper reviews these studies from an archaeological standpoint, concentrating on modern human origins, the introduction of pastoralism to southern Africa and admixture between the region's indigenous foragers and incoming Bantu-speaking farmers.


Reconstruction of human evolution: bringing together genetic, archaeological, and linguistic data.
The reconstruction of human evolutionary history was checked with statistical techniques such as "boot-strapping" and changes some earlier conclusions and is in agreement with more recent ones, including published and unpublished DNA-marker results.
Drift, admixture, and selection in human evolution: a study with DNA polymorphisms.
A reconstruction of human differentiation based on 100 DNA polymorphisms tested in five populations from four continents shows that Europeans do not fit a simple model of independently evolving populations with equal evolutionary rates, and evolutionary models involving early admixture are compatible with the data.
Demic expansions and human evolution
Geographic expansions are caused by successful innovations, biological or cultural, that favor local growth and movement. They have had a powerful effect in determining the present patterns of human
Molecular Evolutionary Genetics
Recent developments of statistical methods in molecular phylogenetics are reviewed and it is shown that the mathematical foundations of these methods are not well established, but computer simulations and empirical data indicate that currently used methods produce reasonably good phylogenetic trees when a sufficiently large number of nucleotides or amino acids are used.
Coevolution of genes and languages revisited.
It is shown that linguistic families of languages spoken by a set of 38 populations associate rather strongly with an evolutionary tree of the same populations derived from genetic data, and the level of significance is found to be much stronger than 10(-3).
Language in the Americas
This book is concerned primarily with the evidence for the validity of a genetic unit, Amerind, embracing the vast majority of New World languages. The only languages excluded are those belonging to
Synthetic maps of human gene frequencies in Europeans.
Synthetic maps constructed for Europe and the Near East show clines in remarkable agreement with those expected on the basis of the spread of early farming in Europe, supporting the hypothesis that this spread was a demic spread rather than a cultural diffusion of farming technology.
Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution
All these mitochondrial DMAs stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived about 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa, implying that each area was colonised repeatedly.
The “Eve” Hypotheses: A Genetic Critique and Reanalysis
Ext d'A.: The simplest hypothesis is that all the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation found in present-day humans is derived from a single common female ancestor. There is no controversy concerning