Magdalena Gayà, CIBIO-InBIO | January 22, 2021 - 15h30 | ONLINE
University of Porto

The Bantu expansion started ~5000 BP in West Central Africa. Understanding the genetic relationships among Bantu-speaking groups is important to better understand questions about the Bantu dispersal and migration routes that remain unclear. Mozambique is at the southern edge of the eastern route, and thus, is key to shed light on the migration routes of the Bantu expansion. In a recent work of our group, we analysed ~1.9M SNPs for 200 individuals from 12 Mozambican and 3 Angolan populations. Our results favour the "late split” model between West and East Bantu speakers, following a joint passage through the rainforest. We also found that East Bantu speakers from Mozambique presented a North-South gradient of genetic diversity, where Southern Mozambican groups presented the lowest values, indicating a rapid North-South migration route along the Indian Ocean Coast. In addition of understanding the genetic variation of these populations, we have also performed analysis to detect genomic regions in these populations that have sings of positive selection by using different statistics that were combined in a Fisher score test. These regions can give us clues about the adaptation that these populations had to face when going southwards and encountering new environments.


Magdalena Gayà is a biologist working on human population genetics. In particular, she is interested in using genomic data to reconstruct the history of human populations and understanding their genetic adaptations. Magda Gayà did the PhD at the Universitat de Barcelona & Université Toulouse III) to investigate the genetic relationships of two Native American populations from Bolivia, integrating the genetic results in a linguistic and historical context. Afterwards, she did an MSc in Bioinformatics and carried out the project in an Evolutionary Genomics group (IMIM) searching for signatures of positive selection in the human lineage. From 2012 to 2014 she did a postdoc (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) working on a project focused on human polymorphic inversions, where she performed evolutionary genetics analysis. She joined CIBIO in December 2014 to work in the Human Evolutionary Genetics group led by Prof. Jorge Rocha to study the genetic variation of populations from Southern Africa to address several questions regarding the demographic history of this region. She is currently involved in projects focused on i) the genetic variation of different African regions, ii) the detection of positive selection signatures, and iii) the oral microbiome of diverse populations.



[Host: Jorge Rocha, Human Evolutionary Genetics- HUMEVOL]



Link to the webinar: (Password: FCUP)