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Title: The peopling of Southern Africa : a genetics approach
Author: Marks, Sarah J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 2941
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Human populations in Africa have high levels of genetic, cultural and linguistic diversity. Despite this, only a small proportion of African populations have been studied from a genetics perspective. There is a particular dearth of information for Southern Africa, even though this region is one of the few places where hunter-gatherer, pastoralist and farmer populations remain, and where interaction between these groups can be studied. This thesis analyses novel populations from Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa, for both maternal and paternal markers, in order to provide a more accurate understanding of the history of this region. Analysis of biodemographic data for these populations highlights signatures of specific cultural traits. Interestingly, contrary to expectations, results indicate that in the patrilocal Basotho there are no differences in within and between area mtDNA and NRY variation, despite observations of a higher female than male migration rate. Females move preferentially at shorter distances than males, minimising the impact of the higher female migration rate. Further analysis of the Southern African samples indicates that the genetic composition of these populations is different to previously studied populations from Sub-Saharan Africa. Notably, there is a significantly higher maternal hunter-gatherer component, potentially as a result of an archeologically defined static frontier which existed along the Maloti/Drakensberg escarpment. Analysis of Namibian samples provides additional information about the history of populations with different lifestyles in the region, with support for a link between Southern Africa pastoralists and East Africa, while other Namibian populations appear genetically different from previously studied populations. Overall, this work demonstrates the diversity of populations in Southern Africa, improves understanding of the history of this region, and also emphasises the value of having access to geographically and ethnically well-defined samples.
Supervisor: Capelli, Cristian Sponsor: Boise Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Genetics (life sciences) ; Evolution (zoology) ; molecular anthropology ; African human population genetics