UCL Division of Biosciences


Nature Communications paper-Evidence of the interplay of genetics and culture in Ethiopia

5 July 2021

A joint paper from Mark Thomas, Lucy van Dorp, Garrett Hellenthal and others using primarily new genetic variation data, disentangles the effects of geographic distance, elevation and social factors on the genetic structure of Ethiopians today.

thomas paper nature comm

This paper shows evidence of associations between social behaviours and genetic differences among present-day Ethiopian people. It is shown that genetic similarity is broadly associated with linguistic affiliation but also identifies pronounced genetic similarity amongst groups from disparate language classifications that may in part be attributable to recent intermixing. Groups reporting the same cultural traits are more genetically similar on average and show evidence of recent intermixing, suggesting that shared cultural traits may promote admixture.