Genomic Evolution and Adaptation in Africa: Implications for Health and Disease

  • Speaker
  • Sarah A. Tishkoff, Ph.D.David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology; Director, Penn Center for Global Genomics and Health Equity, University of Pennsylvania
Date & Time


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Africa is thought to be the ancestral homeland of all modern human populations within the last 300,000 years. The region is also home to tremendous cultural, linguistic, climatic and genetic diversity. Despite the significant role that African populations have played in human history, they remain one of the most underrepresented groups in human genomics studies. Comprehensive knowledge of patterns of variation in African genomes is critical for a deeper understanding of human genomic diversity, the identification of functionally important genetic variation, the genetic basis of adaptation to diverse environments and diets, and the origins of modern humans.

In this lecture, Sarah Tishkoff will discuss how she and colleagues characterized genomic variation in thousands of ethnically and geographically diverse Africans to reconstruct human population history and local adaptation to variable environments. Through this work, they have identified candidate loci that play a role in lipid metabolism and skin color.

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On-site registration will not be permitted. Walk-in entry will be denied.

About the Speaker

Tishkoff studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans. Her research combines fieldwork, laboratory research and computational methods to examine the genetic basis of anthropometric, cardiovascular, and immune-related traits and how human evolution has impacted health and disease. She plays an active role as an advocate for the inclusion of ethnically diverse global populations in human genetics and genomics research. She is also involved in workshops and panels to address ethical issues regarding the use of “race” and ancestry in biomedical research and the clinic.

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