Doctoral Dissertation Research: Investigating patterns of genetic relatedness and social inequality using ancient DNA View Homepage


Ontology type: schema:MonetaryGrant     


Grant Info

YEARS

2016-2018

FUNDING AMOUNT

25187 USD

ABSTRACT

Socioeconomic inequality is a topic of great concern in modern society, and studies of past populations can shed light on the origins and development of inequality. This doctoral dissertation project will analyze ancient DNA (aDNA) from skeletons at the Nubian site of Kulubnarti (550-800 AD) to better understand how genetic relatedness, physical appearance, health, and socioeconomic inequality intersected in the past. This project will provide a DNA-based framework that demonstrates the power of molecular analyses for exploring the roots of social stratification. The student co-PI will also conduct science education outreach to elementary school-aged children and their parents, with a focus on biocultural approaches for understanding human biological diversity. Ancient DNA methods used in this project will inform future investigations of genetic relatedness in situations where DNA is degraded. This project is an investigation of whether biogeographic ancestry and genetic relationships align with archaeologically-observed social stratification between a mainland community of landowning farmers and an island community of "underclass" laborers living side-by-side at the Sudanese Nubian site of Kulubnarti (550-800 AD). To determine if social hierarchy at Kulubnarti correlates with genetically distinct subpopulations, this project tests the hypothesis that the "underclass" position of the islanders was a reflection of migrant status while the landowning farmers composed a more genetically stable local population. The investigators will 1) quantify genetic distance between cemetery communities; 2) examine endogamy within each cemetery community; and 3) estimate biogeographic ancestry and phenotypic variation of individuals from each cemetery. After screening 146 DNA libraries, 30 libraries that demonstrate the highest DNA preservation will be enriched and captured using an array of ~1.2 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The results will reveal the genetic relationships within and between Kulubnarti communities, will produce the first aDNA data from Nubia, and will integrate genetic and archaeological data to examine the biocultural dynamics of social organization in the past. More... »

URL

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