Human Evolutionary Genetics
19.10.2017 - 09.02.2018

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Enard
Dr. Noemie Becker
Dr. Sonja Grath

Course Description

This seminar discusses new and classical papers about how and when human populations evolved. Each week, two students are assigned a topic for a 15 minutes presentation. The topics are related to the article discussed that week but should not be based on the article only. Everyone else is expected to read the paper and contribute to the discussion.

Recommended prerequisites





Please be aware that we moved the starting time back to 8:30!
Every week, Thursday, 8:30-10:00


Biozentrum C00.013


You will get an ungraded certificate (pass/fail) for the course.
To successfully pass the course, you have to:
In case your program requires you to get a graded certificate, please inform the instructors at the beginning of the course.
In addition to the requirements above, if you need a graded certificate, you have to:


You can download the course syllabus here.

Additional Material

Reading papers
Article 1: How to read a scientific paper
Article 2: How to (seriously) read a scientific paper

Program (Winter Semester 2017/18)

Session 1 (Oct 19, 2017): Introduction (by the lecturers)
Session 2 (Oct 26, 2017): Mitochondrial Eve
Article 1: Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Cann, Stoneking and Wilson (1987), Nature.
Article 2: Interview with R. Cann: All about mitochondrial Eve. Glitschier (2010), PLoS Genetics.

Presenter: Hamed

Session 3 (Nov 2, 2017): Y haplotypes
Article: Y haplotypes. Seidelstad et al. (1999), Genome Research.

Presenter: Georgia

Session 4 (Nov 9, 2017): Actual datasets - The explosion of human data in the last 10 years
Article: A map of human genome variation from population-scale sequencing. The 1000 Genomes Consortium (2010), Nature.

Presenter: Christopher, Amit

Session 5 (Nov 16, 2017): Measures of population structure
Article: Genetic Structure of Human Populations. Rosenberg et al. (2002), Science.

Presenter: Zane, Andres

Session 6 (Nov 23, 2017): Genes mirror geography
Article: Genes mirror geography within Europe. Novembre et al. (2008), Nature.

Presenter: Alexandra, Cara

Session 7 (Nov 30, 2017): Speciation
Article: Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence. Scally et al. (2012), Nature.

Presenter: Dorothy, Melanie

Session 8 (Dec 7, 2017): Reconstructing evolution through linguistics
Article: Bantu language trees reflect the spread of farming across sub-Saharan Africa: a maximum-parsimony analysis. Holden (2002), Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B.

Presenter: Ismail, Samuel

Session 9 (Dec 14, 2017): Detecting positive selection in human populations
Article: Positive natural selection in the human lineage. Sabeti et al. (2006), Science.

Presenter: Katharina, Pia-Maria

Session 10 (Dec 21, 2017): Immunology/Medical genetics
Article: The Major Genetic Determinants of HIV-1 Control Affect HLA Class I Peptide Presentation. International HIV Controllers Study. Science, 2010.

Presenter: Markus

Session 11 (Jan 11, 2018): Epigenetics
Article: A twin approach to unraveling epigenetics. Bell and Spector. Tends Genetics, 2011.

Presenter: Olivia, Tim

Session 12 (Jan 18, 2018): Anthropometrics
Article: From Preferred to Actual Mate Characteristics: The Case of Human Body Shape. Courtiol et al. (2010), PLoS ONE.

Presenter: Lorenz

Session 13 (Jan 25, 2018): Ancient DNA
Article: Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences from two Denisovan individuals. Sawyer et al. (2015) PNAS.

Presenter: Elisabeth, Lara

Session 14 (Feb 1, 2018): Ethics questions
As background for this session, please read the 2 Opinion articles on the question: Should scientists study race and IQ?
Article 1
Article 2
And the following article: Implications of biogeography of human populations for 'race' and medicine. Tishkoff and Kidd (2004), Nature Genetics.

Presenter: Janina, Paula

Session 15 (Feb 8, 2018): Conclusion (by the lecturers)