On 24 August at 10:15 Burak Yelmen will defend his doctoral thesis “Characterization of ancient Eurasian influences within modern human genomes”.
Visiting Professor Luca Pagani, University of Tartu
Professor Mait Metspalu, University of Tartu
Associate Professor Toomas Kivisild, University of Tartu
Dr. Mehmet Somel, Associate Professor in Human Evolutionary Genetics at the Middle East Technical University of Ankara (Turkey)
Modern day human genomes are mixtures of ancient components. Thanks to advancements in ancient DNA (aDNA) research, we can detect the origins of these components and study them. However, aDNA might either not be available or be of low quality in many situations due to DNA structure being subject to degradation related to time and different environmental factors. Thankfully, we can identify and extract these ancient layers also from contemporary human genomes with local ancestry inference methods. With this approach, we can study admixed populations, which have highly divergent ancestral components, in terms of demography and functional analyses. This thesis particularly focuses on two such groups: South Asian populations, which are composed of West Eurasian and South Asian ancestries, and Ethiopian populations, which are composed of Eurasian and African ancestries. In the first part of my dissertation, past demographic events, diverse genomic variation and post-admixture natural selection in South Asia are investigated by generating surrogates for the two main ancestral components of contemporary South Asian genomes. In the second part, a local ancestry inference-based method is evaluated for improving selection detection in ancestral components of admixed genomes and it is applied on South Asian genomes. In the third and the last part, a similar approach to the first part is conducted for Ethiopian genomes to pinpoint the source of Eurasian ancestry in contemporary Ethiopians.