Abstract: Recent advances in sequencing and ancient DNA technologies are allowing the study of human population genetics with unprecedent details. In this talk, I will present our work on the formation of genetic diversity in different parts of the world, showing that only by studying all human populations we can fully understand trait and disease architecture. The talk will focus on the Middle East which is key to understanding human evolution and migrations but remains one of the most underrepresented regions in genetic studies. I will explain how we reconstructed the genetic history of the Middle East starting from ~125,000 years ago and up-to the last millennia showing how climate change, technological transitions and cultural practices have all shaped the genomes of the Middle Easterners.
Bio: Marc Haber is a Group Leader at the University of Birmingham with previous affiliations that include the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Pompeu Fabra University’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona. At Birmingham, his group uses large-scale sequencing data from modern and ancient populations to learn about the events that shaped the human genome; this involves investigating how humans migrated and spread around the world, mixed, and adapted to new environments and the consequence of these events on disease and phenotype.
Elliott K, Haber M, Daggag H, Busby G, Sarwar R, Kennet D, et al. (2022). Fine-scale genetic structure in the United Arab Emirates reflects endogamous and consanguineous culture, population history and geography. Molecular Biology and Evolution (Front cover). 39(3):msac039.
Almarri MA*, Haber M*, Lootah RA, Hallast P, Al Turki, S, et al. (2021). The Genomic History of the Middle East. Cell (Front cover). 184(18):4612-4625.
Haber M, Nassar J, Almarri MA, Saupe T, Saag L, et al. (2020). A genetic history of the Near East from an aDNA time course sampling eight points in the past 4,000 Years. The American Journal of Human Genetics 107, 149-157.
Haber M, Doumet-Serhal C, Scheib C, Xue Y, Danecek P, et al. (2017). Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences. The American Journal of Human Genetics 101, 274-282.
Xue Y*, Mezzavilla M*, Haber M*, McCarthy S, Chen Y, et al. (2017). Enrichment of low-frequency functional variants revealed by whole-genome sequencing of multiple isolated European populations. Nature Communications 8, 15927.