We study variation in the DNA of people from different parts of the world, and also in related species such as chimpanzees and gorillas. This tells us about the evolutionary history of human populations and also allows us to compare the different species.
Humans originated in Africa, yet our understanding of African genetic variation is limited, and so this forms one focus of our current work. We also investigate how our ancestors expanded out of Africa into the Middle East and as far as Australia around 50,000 years ago, and how we adapted to the diverse environments including high altitudes in the Himalayas. We explore the insights that natural variation can provide into gene function, and model a few of the advantageous adaptations in mice or cell lines in order to understand the functional changes that were beneficial.