Population Genetic Projects

Over the past 35 years, LMAP Director Theodore Schurr and his colleagues have analyzed the genetic diversity and evolution of human populations from various parts of the world in an effort to understand the origin and migration history of these groups. These studies have involved populations from many regions of the world, including include Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Caucasus, Melanesia, Siberia (Russia), South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Turkey. In particular, Dr. Schurr and his team have worked to delineate the origins of Native American populations and their genetic links to native Siberian peoples, generating foundational papers describing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome (NRY) lineages in the process. Overall, this research has contributed to our deeper understanding of genetic variation in modern human populations, as well as the migration histories and population interactions that generated the patterns of genetic diversity seen today. The research outlined above will be discussed in greater detail in the associated web pages, which have specific geographic foci.

The Americas

Inuvialuit dancers at Circumpolar Games in Inuvik. Photo credit: T.G.. Schurr

The Caucasus

Village of Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr


Nina XXXX and her mother, Ka’ua in Voyampolka, Kamchatka. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr

Anatolia (Turkey)

Herding sheep in central Anatolia. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr


An Aboriginal elder, speaking one of the remaining Pama-Nyungan languages, explains ancient customs to boys at Mudjawakalal in Australia. Photo Credit: Penny Tweedie/Alamy Stock Photo.

Central Asia

The Hazrat Sultan Mosque in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr

East Asia

Men playing Chinese chess ( 象棋; xiàngqí ) in a market district of Shanghai. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr

South Asia

Celebration of the Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi. Photo credit: Jeff Wells, courtesy of EPA/Shutterstock


An image of Musa, ruler of the Mali Empire in the 14th century AD. Image source: https://www.history.com/news/who-was-the-richest-man-in-history-mansa-musa

Southeast Asia

Lalitavistara Deva listening to Dhamma. Detail of carved relief from Borobudur, depicting a figure from the Buddhist pantheon. Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:029_LalitavistaraDeva_listening_to_Dhamma.jpg


A view from along the city fortifications of Tallinn, Estonia. Photo credit: T.G. Schurr

Behavioral Genetics of Owl Monkeys

A pair of Aotus azarae. Photo Credit: Agustin Esmori, Rio Pilcomayo National Park, Argentina

Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
421 University Museum
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA
Tel: 215-573-2656