Human Adaptation to High Altitudes and Aquatic Environments

Session Date: 
May 14, 2021

Humans have persisted for hundreds of generations under challenging environmental extremes. Adaptations to such environments have been essential for survival, enabling populations to trek successfully among high mountain tops or to dive deeply into vast seas. Unique genetic signatures, resulting from thousands of years of strong selective pressures in these environments, have been discovered within the DNA of present-day populations. These findings provide important clues into evolutionary processes in humans, including the impact of archaic contributions, and have been linked to key traits associated with oxygen transport and utilization relevant to health and disease.