Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics and Biochemistry
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Genetics from Texas A&M University in 2012 and my Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Illinois in 2017. I was a postdoc at The University of California – Merced in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Brown University in the Center for Computational and Molecular Biology and the Department for Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. In 2023 I joined the Clemson University Department of Genetics and Biochemistry and the Center for Human Genetics as an assistant professor.
I am a computational biologist and population geneticist who is interested in using ancient DNA to reconstruct the history of movement and interactions between human populations and their domesticates. My primary focus is on domesticated populations and how they can be used to understand past human migrations and diets. My past work has examined how dogs can be used as a proxy to understand migration and diet in human populations in the Americas. More recently I have begun to study the history of cattle in East Asia, focusing on Mongolia and China. I am also interested in past interactions between modern humans and archaic human populations, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. To do this, I have studied how archaic variants are distributed across the genomes of modern individuals, and how they differ between global populations. I have also examined specific genes with archaic ancestry that have an important functional purpose in modern humans, to explore how past archaic gene flow events affect modern humans today.
Kelsey E Witt, Alyssa Funk, Valeria Añorve-Garibay, Lesly Lopez Fang, Emilia Huerta Sánchez. 2023. The impact of modern admixture on archaic human ancestry in human populations. Genome Biology and Evolution, 15(5): evad066.
Kelsey E. Witt, Fernando Villanea, Elle Loughran, Xinjun Zhang, and Emilia Huerta-Sanchez. 2022. Apportioning archaic variants among modern populations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 377(1852): 20200411.
Kelsey E. Witt**, Karthik Yarlagadda, Julie M. Allen, Alyssa C. Bader, Mary L. Simon, Steven R. Kuehn, Kelly S. Swanson, Tzu-Wen L. Cross, Kristin M. Hedman, Stanley H. Ambrose, and Ripan S. Malhi. 2022. Integrative analysis of DNA, macroscopic remains and stable isotopes of dog coprolites to reconstruct community diet. Scientific Reports 11: 3113.
Angela R. Perri, Tatiana R. Feuerborn, Laurent A. F. Frantz, Greger Larson, Ripan S. Malhi, David J. Meltzer, and Kelsey E. Witt**. 2021. Dog domestication and the dual dispersal of people and dogs into the Americas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 118(6): e2010083118.
Lu Yao*, Kelsey Witt*, Hongjie Li, Jonathan Rice, Nelson R. Salinas, Robert D. Martin, Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, and Ripan S. Malhi. 2020. Population genetics of wild Macaca fascicularis with low-coverage shotgun sequencing of museum specimens. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 173(1): 21-33.
Julie M. Schablitsky, Kelsey E. Witt, Jazmin Ramos Madrigal, Martin R. Ellegaard, Ripan S. Malhi, and Hannes Schroeder. 2019. Ancient DNA Analysis of Nineteenth Century Tobacco Pipe from a Maryland Slave Quarter. Journal of Archaeological Science 105: 11-18.
Maire Ni Leathlobhair*, Angela R. Perri*, Evan K. Irving-Pease*, Kelsey E. Witt*, Anna Linderholm*, [and 36 others]. 2018/ The Evolutionary History of Dogs in the Americas. Science 361 (6397): 81-85.
Kelsey E. Witt**, Kathleen Judd, Colin Grier, Timothy A. Kohler, Scott G. Ortman, Andrew Kitchen, Brian M. Kemp, and Ripan S. Malhi. 2015. DNA Analysis of ancient dogs in the Americas: Determining possible founding haplotypes and reconstructing population histories. Journal of Human Evolution 79:105-118.
Asterisks indicate co-first author