Maanasa Raghavan, Assistant Professor of Human Genetics, The University of Chicago
Recent advances in molecular biology and DNA sequencing technologies have facilitated the retrieval and sequencing of DNA from human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. This has provided us with insights into the genetic origins and demographic histories of human populations, including the characterization of past migrations and genetic admixture events. However, much of this work has focused on Europe and several other regions of the world remain underrepresented in these studies. My talk will discuss the utility and challenges associated with the application of ancient DNA techniques in the South Asian context, a region that has witnessed dynamic population movements in prehistoric and more recent times. I will describe my group’s ongoing research, in collaboration with local archaeologists, anthropologists, and geneticists, to better characterize the genetic makings of present-day South Asians as well as our capacity building and training efforts.