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Research Students - Biological Anthropology

University College London Department of Anthropology

Postgraduate Room

14 Taviton St

London, WC1H 0BW


BSc Physical Anthropology (2007)

Universidad de Chile.

BSc Social Anthropology (2005)

Universidad de Chile.

PhD Start Date: September, 2009

Proposed Finish Date: September, 2013

PhD Working Title: Evolution of Lactase Persistence and Milking Practices in Goat Herders of the Semi-Arid Region of Chile.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Ruth Mace.

Secondary Supervisor: Prof. Dallas Swallow. (Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment).

Current Research/Academic Interests

My research interests are the effects of cultural practices and behaviours in genetic evolution. In this broad topic, the strong positive selection of lactase persistence in milking populations from the Old World is commonly referred as one of the best supported examples of the relations between cultural and genetic evolution. My thesis tries to explain the milking cultural tradition and the dairy-rich diet of agropastoralists populations from the Semiarid region of Chile. Considering the mixed Indigenous/European origin of most Latin American rural populations, and the extremely adverse environment in which these communities are settled, these groups provide a good scenario to test evolutionary costs and benefits of bear genes for lactose digestion. This might help to understand how lactase persistence have provided such a strong selective advantage in other milking populations.

Additional Interests:

Genetic Evolution, Cultural Evolution, Human Ecology, Demography, Economy, Population Genetics, Epidemiology, History of Anthropology.

Funding: Bicentennial Becas-Chile Scholarship. Advanced Human Capital Programme. Chilean National Commission for Scientiļ¬c and Technological

Research (CONICYT).

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