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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Connecticut
  • Deborah Bolnick
  • (512) 289-7455
  • Christina M Balentine
Award Date:09/14/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 32,047
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 32,047
  • FY 2020=$32,047
Start Date:09/15/2020
End Date:08/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Doctoral Dissertation Research: Investigating adaptation in ancient and contemporary Indigenous peoples
Federal Award ID Number:2020670
DUNS ID:614209054
Parent DUNS ID:004534830
Program:Bio Anthro DDRI
Program Officer:
  • Rebecca Ferrell
  • (703) 292-7850

Awardee Location

Street:438 Whitney Road Ext.
County:Storrs Mansfield
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Connecticut
Street:354 Mansfield Road
County:Storrs Mansfield
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Humans thrive in diverse and extreme environments around the world thanks to biological and social mechanisms including adaptation by natural selection, habitat construction, and cultural innovations. While many studies have investigated the genetic basis of adaptation to extreme environments, there is much to be discovered about how social and cultural processes also interact to contribute to human survival and flourishing. This doctoral dissertation project combines genetic, archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic analyses to investigate adaptation through time to both natural and social environmental pressures. The multifaceted approach of this project will advance the understanding of human adaptation as well as expand the currently limited representation of Indigenous peoples of the Americas in genomic studies of human variation. The project provides mentorship and training in anthropological genomic methods to graduate and undergraduate researchers and contributes to community and public science outreach efforts. This project employs biocultural theoretical frameworks to integrate evidence from archaeology, ethnohistory, ethnography, and genomics and develop a more complete and nuanced picture of human survival and flourishing in extreme environments. The study employs next-generation genome sequencing technology, isotope and radiocarbon analyses, statistical tests for natural selection, and reconstructions of population history to assess genetic variation and identify genes under selection in ancient and contemporary Indigenous peoples over a timespan of about six thousand years. These data will be used to shed light on possible parallel adaptation in extreme environments where cold temperatures and limited diets may have had similar effects on human populations. Additionally, this study will investigate adaptation after European contact when the introduction of novel diseases may have acted as a strong selective pressure. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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