The Henn Lab investigates patterns of human genetic diversity and evolution by pairing genomic datasets with information about phenotype, language and prehistory. The lab is committed to understanding genetic diversity in under-represented populations and testing the hypothesis that the determinants of phenotypic traits and disease in these populations may be influenced by alleles that are population-specific or generally rare. We are broadly interested in refining models of human migration and understanding the adaptive significance of healthy phenotypes such as life history traits, pigmentation and disease resistance. We are particularly focused on the complex demographic history of African populations. In collaboration with African geneticists, we currently work with Khoe-San populations at several field sites in the Kalahari Desert and Richtersveld to collect DNA samples, ethnographic data and basic phenotypes like skin pigmentation and height. By leveraging reduced environmental variability in these populations, low linkage disequilbrium and historical endogamy, we can jointly address questions regarding the genetic basis for different phenotypes and their evolutionary history. Are there loci of large effect for height and skin pigmentation? Are estimates of heritability for these phenotypes similar or different to estimates from cosmopolitan populations? Was the ancestral population of humans of short stature or tall? We are affiliated with the Graduate Programs in Ecology and Evolution, Genetics, and Anthropology at Stony Brook.
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Contact:Dr. Brenna Henn Main Campus – Life Sciences Building Sixth Floor, Office #640 Dept. of Ecology and Evolution Stony Brook University Stony Brook NY 11794 brenna.henn @ stonybrook.edu
Lab Phone: 631-632-1412