EventDr. Mehmet Somel

Ancient genomics and insights into Anatolian population history

The analysis of ancient genomes has recently been providing unprecedented insight into the demographic and evolutionary history of our species. Here I will provide a summary of current-day wet lab and computational methods used in ancient DNA analysis. I will then present examples of recent work on the population history of Anatolia since the Neolithic Transition 10,000 years ago, i.e. the shift from mobile hunter-gathering to sedentary farming. A major question here has been how Neolithic cultural elements developed over multiple millennia in the region. Among a number of preliminary results, an emerging pattern is that mass migration and colonization were not the main drivers of Neolithization in Southwest Asia, a conclusion that contrasts with the Neolithization of Europe.


About The Speaker


Mehmet Somel studied biology at Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, and worked on human evolutionary genetics for his Ph.D. at the MPI-EVA in Leipzig (2004-2008). He later worked as postdoctoral fellow at the PICB, Shanghai (2008-2011) and in UC Berkeley (2011-2013). Since 2013 he is faculty at METU. His group works on evolutionary genetics, population genetics, and the biology of aging. The group is also part of the METU Ancient DNA Team, working on ancient genomics with a focus on human and domestic animal populations in SW Asia. http://adna.bio.metu.edu.tr/en/