Mame Yoro Diallo, M.Sc.
Ph.D. STARS Student
Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology
Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics
Viničná 7, 128 00 Prague 2
Institute of Archeology ASCR , Prague, vvi
Letenská 4, 118 01 Prague 1
Supervisor: prof. Mgr. Viktor Černý, Dr.
Food production strategies and genetic adaptations of human populations in Africa
The Neolithic transition was the fundamental step in our evolution because the diet consumed by our ancestors changed really dramatically at that time. According to one of the theories suggested by archaeological research the first food-producing subsistence in sub-Saharan Africa was based on nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, but milking of domestic animals was still complemented by hunting and gathering. Another theory counts rather with a co-evolution of farming and pastoral practices from the beginning of food-production. Today we see that the contemporary farmers and pastoralists live mostly separately and have also rather different food regimes; one of the items is the fresh milk, which is consumed almost uniquely by the pastoralists. Our team already published several papers dealing with the lactase persistence (continued activity of the lactase enzyme in adulthood), the trait that is common and positively selected only in the pastoralist populations. This PhD project aims to extend our knowledge of human genetic adaptations to diet in two populations of different subsistence regimes in the African Sahel – sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists. It will apply different statistical methods to an extensive dataset of genetic and genomic data of Sahelian populations in order to analyze their population structure, gene flow among the groups and will try to identify loci under positive selection. The project should also provide a conceptual framework for the study of evolutionary processes that shape disease susceptibility, which is particularly timely in today’s globalizing world, where populations of various ancestry share the same diet more often than ever before.
Čížková, M., Munclinger, P., Diallo, M.Y., Kulichová, I., Mokhtar, M., Deme, A., Pereira, L., & Černý, V. (2017). Genetic Structure of the Western and Eastern African Sahel/Savannah Belt and the Role of Nomadic Pastoralists as Inferred from the Variation of D-Loop Mitochondrial DNA Sequences. Human Biology, 89, 281–302.