Nature: Worldwide human diversity in the genomic era | University of Tartu

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Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
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    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
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Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
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    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
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Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
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    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
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    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
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    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
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    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
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    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
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    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
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    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
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    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
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    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
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  • Museum
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    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
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Support Units
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    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
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    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
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    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
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    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
Other Units
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  • View all other units

Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 309–352, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18–310, 50090 Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003 Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a–29, 50103 Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409 Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20–324, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307 Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012 Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 50406 Tartu
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu Observatory
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4510
    Faculty address: 
    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Genomics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010 Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6339
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51005 Tartu
  • Grant Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6000, IT-help: +372 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17–103, 51005 Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 102, 104, 209, 210, 50090 Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5620
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Procurement Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6632
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51005 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Nature: Worldwide human diversity in the genomic era

A genomic study published in Nature online on 21st of September this year, suggests Papuans harbour traces of an additional early dispersal out of Africa, highlights genetic gradients in Eurasia and reveals new genetic candidates underlying the local adaptation to the various diets and environments.

Unprecedented level of detail in the genomic diversity of modern humans is shown in 483 (379 new) high-resolution whole genome sequences. The samples from 125 human populations across the world were collected and analysed by an international collaboration led by Dr. Mait Metspalu from the Estonian Biocentre, Estonia and Dr. Toomas Kivisild from the University of Cambridge, UK. “This unique endeavour was made possible by the anonymous sample donors and the collaboration effort of nearly one hundred researchers from 74 different research groups from all over the World,” says Dr. Metspalu.

The suggested earlier dispersal of modern humans from Africa adds to the long-lasting scientific debate about the Out-of-Africa (OoA) expansion, peopling of Eurasia, Oceania and the New World by modern humans. In the same issue of Nature there are two other independent studies led by Dr. Reich and Dr. Willerslev, respectively, also addressing these questions. All three studies agree, that for the most part, the genomes of contemporary non-Africans show signs of only one expansion of modern humans out-of-Africa (OoA) that took place after 75.000 years ago. The other studies both conclude that if there were indeed earlier expansions of modern humans OoA, they have left little or no genetic trace. “And it is precisely this “little” - mounting to at least 2% of genetic ancestry of modern Papuans - that we found to derive from that earlier dispersal from Africa,” says Dr Luca Pagani who led this research direction together with Daniel Lawson and Mait Metspalu.

The high geographic coverage of the samples permitted many aspects of genetic and phenotypic differences between individuals and populations to be studied. Using a common spatial framework Drs. Anders Eriksson and Andrea Manica from the University of Cambridge found that the sharpest genetic gradient in Eurasia separates East and West Eurasians. This barrier runs roughly along the Ural Mountains in the north, opens in the Steppe belt connecting Central Asia to South Siberia and becomes strong again on the Tibetan plateau, elongating south toward the Indian Ocean while separating South and Southeast Asia.

Analyses of selection, led by Evelyn Jagoda, Alexander Mörseburg and Dr.  Toomas Kivisild from the Cambridge team, showed environment dependent cases of purifying selection in pigmentation and immunity genes. Dr. Toomas Kivisild: “We revealed a number of metabolism- and immunity-related genes as new candidates for local adaptation to the various diets and environments in which human populations are living today.”

“Overall this work provides an invaluable contribution to the understanding of our evolutionary past and to the challenges that humans faced when settling down in ever-changing environments”, Dr.  Richard Villems from the Estonian Biocentre says. In addition, the deluge of freely available data will serve as future starting point to further studies on the genetic history of modern and ancient human populations.

 Proposed model of human expansions described as a Subway plot.

Contacts:

Toomas Kivisild (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK / Estonian Biocentre)
tk331 [ät] cam.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)1223 764703

Mait Metspalu (Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, Estonia)
mait [ät] ebc.ee Tel: +372 737 5052; +372 5283315

Luca Pagani (Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, Estonia / University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
lp336 [ät] cam.ac.uk
lp.lucapagani [ät] gmail.com Tel: +372 7374026  (+39 3407862518)

Virge Tamme
Press Officer of the UT
Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5815 5392
E-mail: virge.tamme [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee