Novel evolutionary tools for studying human populations using the X chromosome

Jun 16, 2008

Research in the Department of Genetics at University of Leicester is well-known for its human population studies with the Y chromosome, including the relationship between the male surname and the Y chromosome, as well as a better understanding of the Viking settlement in the Northwest England.

Now a new research project using the X chromosome (present in one copy in men but two in women) will be the first readily applicable non sex-specific evolutionary tool to provide a more sex-balanced view in human population studies.

Although the Y chromosome is a better established evolutionary tool and has been used in many evolutionary studies, apart from ease of usage, it has a lot of limitations preventing it becoming the most evolutionary informative DNA segments in the Human genome.

Now as part of her doctoral studies, Holly Leung is investigating the potential of the X chromosome as another evolutionary informative segment in the human genome.

Holly said: “This may be the real key to solving many existing mysteries of human population evolution, for example the ‘out of Africa’ theory and the Neolithic expansion in Europe.

“The Y chromosome is the most common evolutionary tool we use in population studies but it doesn’t mean that it is the most evolutionary informative DNA segment in the human genome.

“There are many limitations with the use of the Y chromosome which make it non-applicable to every evolutionary study because of its male specific lineage. It provides sex-biased information to the male and as a single genetic marker restricts the diversity of information source.

“The aim of my research is to produce and assess the usefulness of the evolutionary information provided by the X chromosome. It shares some properties with the Y chromosome, but provides an expanded view of human evolution because of its presence in males and females and the many independent genetic markers it contains.”

Holly Leung is 24 years old, graduate from the BSc Medical Genetics in the University of Leicester in 2006. In the same year, she continues her study in the Department of Genetics doing PhD Genetics research as she discovered her interest in Evolutionary Genetics specifically in the study of evolutionary history of Human population.

The research is being presented to the public at the University of Leicester on Thursday 26th June. The Festival of Postgraduate Research introduces employers and the public to the next generation of innovators and cutting-edge researchers, and gives postgraduate researchers the opportunity to explain the real world implications of their research to a wide ranging audience.

Source: University of Leicester

Explore further: Researchers devise new method to identify disease markers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New model set to reveal oldest spoken words yet

Feb 10, 2015

A team of University of Reading scientists has developed a mathematical technique that can work out when changes to how words are pronounced occurred in different languages.

Male sexual despots rewrite history

Feb 04, 2015

"Heredity", opined the pioneering cultural anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber in 1915, "cannot be allowed to have acted any part in history". I have yet to encounter a crisper expression of the view that biological explanations have no place in the study of society ...

Mapping the maize genome

Jan 20, 2015

Positional cloning is a genetic mapping technique used to pinpoint the location of specific traits of interest, such as disease-causing genes or mutations, within the genome. Very simply, this map-based technique ...

Recommended for you

Deadly frog fungus dates back to 1880s, studies find

21 minutes ago

A deadly fungus responsible for the extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide has coexisted harmlessly with animals in Illinois and Korea for more than a century, a pair of studies have found.

Wild yaks: Shaggy barometers of climate change

1 hour ago

A new study led by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), University of Montana, Qinghai Forestry Bureau, Keke Xili National Nature Reserve, and other groups finds that climate change and past hunting in the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.