The Y chromosome is an established evolutionary tool and has been used in many evolutionary studies. While easy to use, it has limitations which prevent it from full utilization about the most evolutionary informative DNA segments in the Human genome.
As part of her doctoral studies, Holly Leung in the Department of Genetics at University of Leicesteris has been investigating the potential of the X chromosome as another evolutionary informative segment in the human genome.
The University of Leicester has done many human population studies with the Y chromosome, including the relationship between the male surname and the Y chromosome, as well as a better understanding of the Viking settlement in the Northwest England.
Holly said: “This may be the real key to solving many existing mysteries of human population evolution, for example the ‘out of Africa’ theory and the Neolithic expansion in Europe.
“The Y chromosome is the most common evolutionary tool we use in population studies but it doesn’t mean that it is the most evolutionary informative DNA segment in the human genome.
“There are many limitations with the use of the Y chromosome which make it non-applicable to every evolutionary study because of its male specific lineage. It provides sex-biased information to the male and as a single genetic marker restricts the diversity of information source.
“The aim of my research is to produce and assess the usefulness of the evolutionary information provided by the X chromosome. It shares some properties with the Y chromosome, but provides an expanded view of human evolution because of its presence in males and females and the many independent genetic markers it contains.”
The research is being presented to the public at the University of Leicester on Thursday 26th June. The Festival of Postgraduate Research introduces employers and the public to the next generation of innovators and cutting-edge researchers, and gives postgraduate researchers the opportunity to explain the real world implications of their research to a wide ranging audience.