Nerming Briones

Student NameNerming Briones
Faculty Mentor NameAida Miro
CollegeFlorida Museum of Natural History
Research InterestsHuman evolution, host-parasite relationship
Academic AwardsN/A
Hobbies and InterestsWriting short stories

Research Project

Louse Mitochondrial DNA As A Marker For Human Migration?

Since the discovery of the first hominin remains in Africa, scientists have tried to explain the complex trajectory of human evolution. Parasites can provide a unique insight into the evolutionary history of humans. Human head lice are parasites that cannot survive more than 24 hours without its human host. Due to this, they have co-evolved with their host, and thus provide a unique marker in studying human evolution and migration. For my University Scholars research, I will analyze mitochondrial DNA to reconstruct the evolutionary history of lice within clades A and B, determine whether louse migration is consisted with patterns of human migration, and use louse population structure to make inferences about human migrations. With the mentorship of Dr. Aida Miró, I will perform phylogenetic analyses, using programs such as BEAST and RAxML, and find results that show divergence times and geographic distributions within clades, thus informing about the movement of humans.