Chapter

Evolutionary Models of Migration in Human Prehistory and Their Anthropological Significance

Keith L. Hunley

in Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036076
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041780 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813036076.003.0016
Evolutionary Models of Migration in Human Prehistory and Their Anthropological Significance

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There is a longstanding debate among geneticists about the relative importance of large-scale migrations following founder effects (SFE) vs. migration between local demes, i.e., gene flow (GF), in shaping human genetic diversity. This chapter compares genetic patterns simulated under these two evolutionary processes to the observed pattern in 108 globally distributed populations. The comparison shows that the SFE process has played the dominant role in shaping variation at both global and regional scales. Because of the SFE process, non-African variation is largely a subset of African variation, and most genetic changes that have occurred since we left Africa are shared by groups in multiple geographic regions. This pattern of variation is inconsistent with conventional taxonomic concepts of biological race, and it suggests that people in all regions will share the genetic variants that contribute to complex human disease.

Keywords: migration; biological anthropology; molecular anthropology; serial founder effects; gene flow; computer simulation; evolutionary process

Chapter.  5560 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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