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Pakendorf, Brigitte

Grant Type: 
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Max Planck Inst.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 10, 2012
Project Title: 
Pakendorf, Dr. Brigitte, Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany - To aid research on 'Investigating the Prehistory of 'Khoisan'-speaking Hunter-gatherers from Southern Africa with Large-scale Y-chromosome Sequences'

Preliminary abstract: This study aims at investigating the prehistory of the peoples of southern Africa speaking non-Bantu ('Khoisan') languages using large-scale sequencing of the Y-chromosome. In contrast to the widely-held belief that these groups are linguistically and culturally homogenous, specialists recognize three separate language families (Khoe, Kx'a, and Tuu) that are spoken not only by hunter-gatherers, but also by pastoralist populations. Our study will allow us to answer the questions whether these groups form a genetically related group, as often assumed, or whether they are of diverse origins but have been in close contact during their prehistory, including the exchange of words, cultural features, and intermarriage; whether some of the groups speaking languages belonging to the Khoe language family underwent language shift in the past, and to what extent some of the hunter-gatherer populations may actually be the descendants of former pastoralist immigrants who reverted to a foraging lifestyle. In order to answer these questions, we will sequence ~500,000 bp of the Y-chromosome in ~600 samples from populations in Botswana and Namibia covering the range of southern African indigenous linguistic and cultural variation.