"Investigations into the Adaptive Value and Biological Consequences of Positively-Selected Neanderthal Introgressed Genetic Variation in Modern Humans"
Evelyn Jagoda, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology
Tuesday, August 3, 9:00-10:00 am EST
Please RSVP to Mallory McCoy for the zoom link & password (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The sequencing of ancient genomes has revealed that modern humans interbred with at least two different archaic hominin populations, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Some of this introgressed variation appears to have been under positive selection, yet the adaptive phenotypes driving this selection, as well as the timescales and locations of these positive selection sweeps, remain unclear. The goal of this dissertation is to explore why some archaically introgressed variation has been under positive selection in modern humans and what the biological consequences of this introgression are for human populations today. I approach this question in several ways: (1) investigating the dynamics of the positive selection on introgressed haplotypes genome-wide, (2) identifying adaptively introgressed variants genome-wide that modulate genes in the human immune system and probing their phenotypic effects, and (3) identifying Neanderthal introgressed variants on a locus-specific level that are putative drivers of an increased risk of severe COVID-19.