Rise and Fall of the Beringian Steppe Bison

The widespread extinctions of large mammals at the end of the Pleistocene epoch have often been attributed to the depredations of humans; here we present genetic evidence that questions this assumption. We used ancient DNA and Bayesian techniques to reconstruct a detailed genetic history of bison throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. Our analyses depict a large diverse population living throughout Beringia until around 37,000 years before the present, when the population’s genetic diversity began to decline dramatically. The timing of this decline correlates with environmental changes associated with the onset of the last glacial cycle, whereas archaeological evidence does not support the presence of large populations of humans in Eastern Beringia until more than 15,000 years later.

Genetics and Neanderthal

By Grant Keddie Genetics, diseases, modern humans and our close relatives. Our Developing Nervous system One of the keys to understanding modern diseases is through their genetic evolution and how that can contribute to where we focus research to eliminate them.  One of the latest fascinating discoveries may be relevant to the study of modern common neurological diseases such as parkinson’s, dementia, seizures, strokes and migraine headaches.   There is a new field of study that involves a combination of stem cell biology, neuroscience and paleogenomics.  This involves the ability to apply the comparative approach of modern human genetics to our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, using brain organoids. A brain organoid is an artificially grown miniature organ resembling … Continue reading “Genetics and Neanderthal”