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Genome-wide investigation of Southeast Asia and Oceania population diversity and history

Southeast Asia and Oceania occupy a vast portion of the earth’s surface and have experienced human activity for a very long time. The earliest evidence for modern humans outside of Africa arrived in these regions at least 50,000 years ago. After that, these regions have been relatively isolated until the massive migration events accompanying the spread of agriculture and the movements of several language families starting from the Neolithic period. One well-known example is the Austronesian expansion. As a result of these complexed human population histories, there are over 1000 ethnolinguistic groups in these regions nowadays. I am interested in the genetic diversity of present day populations living in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Additionally, I want to ask what demographic processes happened in the past and how they shaped the genetic diversity we see in the present day populations.

Genome-wide data have been shown to be a powerful tool to investigate human population diversity and history. Each of the genetic markers can be traced back to a large number of shared ancestors, and the population relatedness and demographic processes can thus be inferred through the patterns of sharing of markers within and between populations. Therefore, to address the questions above, my research is focusing on genome-wide analyses of data sampled from those regions. In particular, I am now working on data from populations from Vietnam, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea.