Africans and Asians Abroad: Genetic Diversity in Europe

Guido Barbujani

Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Ferrara , Ferrara, I-44100 Italy

David Goldstein
Department of Biology, University College, London, WC1E 6BT United Kingdom


Besides its obvious intrinsic value, knowledge on population history, and on the demographic and evolutionary changes that accompanied it, has proved fundamental to address applied research in human genetics. In this paper we place current European genetic diversity in the context of the global human genome diversity, and review the evidence supporting a recent African origin of the Europeans. We then discuss the results and the interpretation of genetic studies attempting to quantify the relative importance of various gene flow processes, both within Europe and from Asia into Europe, focussing especially on the initial, Paleolithic, colonization of the continent, and on later, Paleolithic postglacial and Neolithic, dispersals. Finally, we discuss how knowledge on the patterns of genetic diversity in Europe, and on their inferred generating processes, can be extremely useful in planning healthcare and biomedical research.

Expected online publication date for the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics Volume 5 is August 30, 2004

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