What DNA Says About Our Human Family, Recent Relatives: Hunters, Farmers, and Horsemen, Part III
The last episode of our study of human evolution looks at an enigmatic “jumping gene” and how it can be used to study the dynamics of human populations. We will look at the frequency of the jumping gene in different world populations, including a dramatic case on the island of Sardinia that illustrates how people behaved until the advent of air travel. We will simulate how mutations are inherited in small populations and how potentially useful mutations are preserved for later use. We will explore how evidence from this type of genetic study fits into the big picture of human evolution and our previous determination of when modern humans left Africa. We will see how genes provide evidence of great, but relatively recent, population movements that spread technological innovations through Europe.