Paleopopulation Genetics

By Razib Khan | September 27, 2012 10:57 pm

It seems a new field is being born! Jeff Wall & Monty Slatkin have a pretty thorough review out, Paleopopulation Genetics:

Paleopopulation genetics is a new field that focuses on the population genetics of extinct groups and ancestral populations (i.e., populations ancestral to extant groups). With recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies, we now have unprecedented ability to directly assay genetic variation from fossils. This allows us to address issues, such as past population structure, changes in population size, and evolutionary relationships between taxa, at a much greater resolution than can traditional population genetics studies. In this review, we discuss recent developments in this emerging field as well as prospects for the future.

Nothing very new for close readers of this weblog, but the references are useful for later mining.

  • Sandgroper

    This is where I’d seriously like to click a ‘like’ button.

  • dave chamberlin

    I’ve been coming here for eight years now to get the latest updates on paleopopulation genetics. Just because it now has an official name doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before hand.

  • Doug

    Genetic comparison of extinct species would certainly be useful for taxonomy purposes. I am a little curious as to where the DNA would come from. Most fossils are basically rock with no DNA. It seems that it would be limited to samples before fossilization could occur. Of course genomic research today could still bring better organization to taxonomy.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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