Video: Adam, Eve and human genetic diversity

This video summarises my understanding of the current genetic evidence on whether or not humans could have passed through a bottleneck of a single couple at some point in our history.

It is a talk I gave in May 2020 for a group of scientists from across Europe who identify as Christians. This audience came from a range of different disciplines, so I tried to present at a level understandable to any educated layperson.

Everything I say here is preliminary and tentative. I welcome feedback and comments on this talk – especially from experts on human population genomics – especially if I say anything that is wrong. My box diagrams are of course simplifications, but I hope they convey the major concepts with clarity.

Since I gave this talk, a major paper has been published in Nature presenting high coverage genome sequences for populations across Africa. The key analyses mentioned in my video based on the 1000 genomes project need to be re-done on this new, much better dataset. I won’t have time to do that any time soon, but if someone else did, I would be delighted.

Christian viewers should not misunderstood me to be taking or recommending any particular scientific or exegetical position on a harmonisation between current science and the Bible. This talk has a much narrower focus than that. Much research has still to be done.

If you are interested in following the links I mention in the video, my slides can be downloaded as a PDF here.