A+ A A-

A Genomic History of Aboriginal Australia

Event Details:

  • Date: Thursday 12 January 2017
  • Time: 16:00
  • Venue: The Cyprus Institute - Guy Ourisson Building Seminar Room (1st Floor), Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr. Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, European Research Council Assistant Professor, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern

*The colloquium will be in English, the event is open to the public, light refreshments will be served after the talk.

aboriginal australiaThe population history of Aboriginal Australians remains largely uncharacterized. In this work, we generate high-coverage genomes for 83 Aboriginal Australians (speakers of Pama–Nyungan languages) and 25 Papuans from the New Guinea Highlands. We find that Papuan and Aboriginal Australian ancestors diversified 25–40 thousand years ago (kya), suggesting pre-Holocene population structure in the ancient continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). However, all of the studied Aboriginal Australians descend from a single founding population that differentiated ~10–32 kya.

We infer a population expansion in northeast Australia during the Holocene epoch (past 10,000 years) associated with limited gene flow from this region to the rest of Australia, consistent with the spread of the Pama–Nyungan languages. We estimate that Aboriginal Australians and Papuans diverged from Eurasians 51–72 kya, following a single out-of-Africa dispersal, and subsequently admixed with archaic populations.


a-sapfo malaspinasAnna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Assistant Professor, European Research Council, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern. She studied biology and physics as an undergraduate at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She then did her PhD in population genetics and computational biology at the University of California, Berkeley with Monty Slatkin. Before returning to Switzerland as an assistant professor at the University of Bern, Anna-Sapfo did a postdoctoral at the University of Copenhagen with Eske Willerslev. She specializes in the analyses of on ancient and modern population data.


Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This event is part of the CyI Colloquium Series.  View all CyI events.

Publications & Media