Anthropological Genetics: Inferring the History of Our Species Through the Analysis of DNA

Jason A. Hodgson, Todd R. Disotell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The genetic material, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), contains information about the evolutionary history of life. Both the relationships amongst organisms and the times of their divergence can be inferred from DNA sequences. Anthropological geneticists use DNA sequences to infer the evolutionary history of humans and their primate relatives. We review the basic methodology used to infer these relationships. We then review the anthropological genetic evidence for modern human origins. We conclude that modern humans evolved recently in Africa and then left to colonize the rest of the world within the last 50,000 years, largely replacing the other human groups that they encountered. Modern humans likely exchanged genes with Neanderthals prior to or early during their expansion out of Africa.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)387-398
    Number of pages12
    JournalEvolution: Education and Outreach
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Aug 19 2010


    • Ancient DNA
    • Anthropological genetics
    • Human origins
    • Molecular clock
    • Phylogeny

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Education


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