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A Biocultural Assessment of Gene Flow, the Andes and the Himalayas

Author(s): Cecil Lewis ; Christina Warinner

Year: 2016

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Anthropological population geneticists often attempt to explain the pattern and distribution of human genetic variation globally. Central to this pursuit is understanding the degree to which cultural, biological, and geographic variation impact migration of people, and the genetic traits (alleles) they bear. Gene flow, the transfer of alleles from one population to another, flows in the path of least resistance. All other things being equal, this means that topology creates resistance, and we would expect high altitude landscapes to provide barriers to gene flow. But this idealized model is frequently rejected. High altitude environments can also provide incentives for migration and gene flow. Synthesizing our work from the Andes and Himalayas, we discuss the biocultural landscape for the initial migration and the subsequent interaction of ancient peoples. We find there are high-elevation landscapes being peopled as early as there is evidence of people in adjacent lower-elevation regions, and once peopled, patterns of gene flow becomes a complex interplay of cultural and physical adaptation.

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A Biocultural Assessment of Gene Flow, the Andes and the Himalayas. Cecil Lewis, Christina Warinner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404047)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America