Welcome to the Pemberton Lab...

Publication in PLoS Genetics

Our recent study entitled "Patterns of admixture and population structure in Native populations of Northwest North America" has just been published in PLoS Genetics. In this article, we analyze genome-wide diversity among Indigenous North American populations and provide a comparative framework for understanding the effects of European colonization on indigenous communities throughout the Americas.

Letter in The New York Times

The New York Times recently published a letter highlighting the misappropriation of population-genetic research—including our own—by Nicholas Wade in his book A Troublesome Inheritance to support his misinformed arguments regarding the origins of differences among human societies in IQ test results, political institutions, and economic development. Click here to read the full letter on the NY Times website.

Publication in Human Heredity

Our recent study entitled "Population-genetic influences on genomic estimates of the inbreeding coefficient: a global perspective" has just been published in Human Heredity. In this article, we provide insight into population-genetic factors useful for assessing the effect of consanguinity on genomic patterns in different populations.

Returning member of the team...

Michelle Kwong has rejoined the group as a summer research assistant following her first year as an undergraduate student pursing a Bachelor's in Health Sciences at McMaster University. In her summer research project, Michelle is focusing on developing an improved likelihood-based method for identifying regions of autozygosity in genome-wide SNP and NGS sequence data.

Publication in Glia

Our recent study entitled "A mutation in the canine gene encoding folliculin-interacting protein 2 (FNIP2) associated with a unique disruption in spinal cord myelination" has just been published in Glia. In this article, we identify the protein whose disruption results in "shaky puppy syndrome" in the Weimaraner breed of dog, and our findings have diagnostic implications for developmental defects in myelination of unknown etiology.

Publication in
Genetics in Medicine

Our letter to the editor entitled "Runs of homozygosity and parental relatedness" has just been published in Genetics in Medicine. In this letter, we draw attention to new findings on ROH that can improve upon the recommended ACMG guidelines for incidental evidence of parental relatedness during genomic testing.

DHS launched...

We have recently made available our Database of Homozygous Segments (DHS) that allows anyone to explore the genomic distribution of the ROH we identified in our American Journal of Human Genetics article "Genomic patterns of homozygosity in worldwide human populations." To explore this exciting database click here.

About the Lab

Research in the lab is focused on understanding the genetic etiology of Mendelian and complex traits, how human population history and cultural practices influence patterns of genetic variation, and the ways in which these patterns can be harnessed to advance the discovery of genes that underlie human disease. We are more broadly interested in understanding how the geographic distribution of human genetic variation relates to the susceptibility of different populations to disease, and ultimately how this variation in disease susceptibility reflects the evolutionary history of human populations. Our efforts will provide a foundation for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that will help reduce the disease-burden of diverse populations.

Current Research Projects

Phenotype Mapping

The identification of novel genes and genetic variants underlying Mendelian and complex phenotypes is a necessary step in furthering our understanding of their underlying processes and human development. For disease phenotypes, such an understanding is a fundamental step toward developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to help reduce the disease-burden of diverse populations.

Genomic Homozygosity

Genome-wide patterns of runs of homozygosity and their variation across individuals can provide a rich source of data for uncovering patterns of diversity, population structure, and history of human populations, and for facilitating the identification of genes underlying recessive traits via homozygosity mapping.

Genetics of Asian Indians

In India, centuries-old marriage customs have introduced extensive social structuring into the contemporary population, potentially with significant consequences for genetic variation. Understanding the genetic landscape in India is a necessary first step toward identifying the genetic factors that underlie diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes that occur at high frequency in Asian Indians.

Genetics of African Pygmies

African Pygmies are hunter-gatherer populations from the equatorial rainforest that have the shortest average adult height among worldwide human populations. Investigating patterns of genetic variation in these populations will hopefully shed light on the biological basis and the putative adaptive role of the short stature of Pygmy populations, and increase our understanding of their unique evolutionary history.

Genetics of First Nations

The peopling history of the Americas remains the subject of numerous archaeological, paleo-anthropological, linguistic, and population genetics debates. Exploring the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of indigenous peoples of the Americas and investigating the patterns and history of admixture in these communities will help improve upon our current knowledge of the complex history of this continent.

Genetics of Cape Verde

Cape Verde is an archipelago consisting of nine inhabited islands located off the shores of Senegal whose contemporary populations reflect the diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the original 15th century European and continental African settlers. Thus, the Cape Verde archipelago affords us an opportunity to jointly reconstruct the history of both language varieties and genetic diversity in an admixed population.


Department of Biochemistry and
Medical Genetics

University of Manitoba
Rm 309 - 745 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0J9
+1 204 789 3602Telephone (office):
+1 204 789 3524Telephone (lab):
+1 204 789 3900Fax: