Human Population Genetics

pp 235-254

Genetic Variation and Relationships among Population Groups of Europe

  • Hubert WalterAffiliated withDepartment of Human Biology, University of Bremen
  • , Heidi Danker-HopfeAffiliated withDepartment of Human Biology, University of Bremen

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The study of genetic variation in man and its causes is without doubt one of the most interesting and important topics of human biology. Comprehensive presentations of this field of human biological research — the genetics of human populations — have been given among others by Cavalli-Sforza and Bodmer (1971) and more recently by Vogel and Motulsky (1986) and Harrison (1988). It has been shown by numerous population studies in almost every part of the world that the considerable genetic variation in human population is the result of the operation of several factors such as mutation, selection, genetic drift, founder effects, gene flow, geographical, social and cultural isolation, which, however, do not operate independently, but are intricately interrelated. At present it is, however, almost impossible to evaluate the specific contributions of the various factors and their interrelationships to the genetic profile of any human population or group of populations in complete detail.