Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationU. Nacional de La Plata
Grant numberGr. 9391
Approve DateOctober 19, 2016
Project TitleDelgado, Dr. Miguel Eduardo, U. Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina - To aid research on 'The Genetic Architecture of Modern Human Dental Morphology'
MIGUEL EDUARDO DELGADO, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on “The Genetic Architecture of Modern Human Dental Morphology.” Teeth are common and well-preserved skeletal elements in the hominin fossil and archaeological record as well as in forensic contexts. Accordingly, dental features are broadly used in reconstructing hominin evolution and patterns of diversity. Nevertheless, the molecular genetic basis underlying dental morphology continues to be poorly understood, and comprehensive assessments of the genotype-phenotype dental map are lacking. The present study uses current genomic technologies and state-of-the-art 3D imaging techniques to identify genes responsible for variation in hominin tooth morphology through multiple genetic tests. 3D surfaces of dental plaster casts and genome-wide SNP data from ~1000 Latin Americans of mixed European, Native American and African ancestry were used to investigate multiple dental features. The results suggest that several dental traits are useful for estimating genetic admixture. The identification of specific genetic variants involved in dental morphology supports the common assumption that human dentition is under strong genetic control, and shows, from a hierarchical level, that hundreds of genes contribute differentially to distinct aspects of tooth morphology. The use of genomic and 3D-imaging technologies to investigate the genetic architecture of dental features traditionally used in anthropological research is an important challenge and an avenue for future research in human biocultural diversity and evolution.