Choongwon Jeong, PhD

Abteilung für Archäogenetik
Eurasia3angle Forschungsgruppe


Leader of the Population Genetics / MHAAM Group

Members: Alissa Mittnik (Post-doctoral Researcher), Michal Feldman (PhD student), Marieke van de Loosdrecht (PhD student), Eirini Skourtanioti (PhD student), Raffaela Bianco (MSc student)

My primary research interest stays in characterizing dynamic changes in the genetic structure of human populations over time and in identifying causative forces to shape the spatiotemporal structure. Previously, I investigated the genetic history of Tibetan populations and their high altitude adaptations, a strong example of human genetic adaptations to local environments. I am currently exploring the genetic history of various human populations around the world, including the Mediterranean, East Asian and Siberian populations, with strong emphasis on disentangling layers of complex ancestries in admixed populations in fine resolution by applying state-of-the-arts statistical methods.


  • BSc in Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea (2002 - 2006)
  • MSc in Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea (2009 - 2011)
  • PhD in Human Genetics, "The Genetic History and Adaptations of High Altitude East Asians in the Tibetan Plateau", University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA (2011 - 2016)
  • Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Archaeogenetics & Eurasia3angle Group, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany (2016 - 2017)
  • Research Group Leader of Population Genetics / MHAAM, Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany (July 2017 - )

Selected Publication
  • van de Loosdrecht M, Bouzouggar A*, Humphrey L, Posth C, Barton N, Aximu-Petri A, Nickel B, Nagel S, Talbi EH, El Hajraoui MA, Amzazi S, Hublin J, Pääbo S, Schiffels S, Meyer M, Haak W, Jeong C* and Krause J* (2017) Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African human populations. Science doi:10.1126/science.aar8380 (*corresponding authors)
  • Jeong C, Witonsky DB, Basnyat B, Neupane M, Beall CM, Childs G, Craig SR, Novembre J and Di Rienzo A (2017) Detecting past and ongoing natural selection among ethnically Tibetan women at high altitude in Nepal. bioRxiv doi:10.1101/223081.
  • Jeong C, Peter BM, Basnyat B, Neupane M, Beall CM, Childs G, Craig SR, Novembre J and Di Rienzo A (2017) A longitudinal cline characterizes the genetic structure of human populations in the Tibetan plateau. PLoS One 12(4): e0175885.
  • Jeong C, Ozga AT, Witonsky D, Malmström H, Edlund H, Hofman C, Hagan RW, Jakobsson M, Lewis CM, Aldenderfer M, Di Rienzo A and Warinner C (2016) Long-term genetic stability and a high altitude East Asian origin for the peoples of the high valleys of the Himalayan arc. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103(27): 7485-7490.
  • Jeong C†, Nakagome S† and Di Rienzo A (2016) Deep history of East Asian populations revealed through genetic analysis of the Ainu. Genetics 202: 261-272. (†equal contribution)
  • Jeong C and Di Rienzo A (2014) Adaptations to local environments in modern human populations. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 29: 1-8.
  • Jeong C, Alkorta-Aranburu G, Basnyat B, Neupane M, Witonsky D, Pritchard JK, Beall CM and Di Rienzo A (2014) Admixture facilitates genetic adaptations to high-altitude in Tibet. Nat. Commun. 5:3281. doi:10.1038/ncomms4281.
  • Lamnidis TC, Majander K, Jeong C, Salmela E, Wessman A, Moiseyev V, Khartanovich V, Balanovsky O, Ongyerth M, Weihmann A, Sajantila A, Kelso J, Pääbo S, Onkamo P, Haak W, Krause J and Schiffels S (2018) Ancient Fennoscandian genomes reveal origin and spread of Siberian ancestry in Europe. bioRxiv doi:10.1101/285437.
  • Posth C, Nägele K, Colleran H, Valentin F, Bedford S, Kami KW, Shing R, Buckley H, Kinaston R, Walworth M, Clark GR, Reepmeyer C, Flexner J, Maric T, Moser J, Gresky J, Kiko L, Robson K, Auckland K, Oppenheimer SJ, Hill AVS, Mentzer AJ, Zech J, Petchey F, Roberts P, Jeong C, Grey RD, Krause J and Powell A (2018) Language continuity despite population replacement in remote Oceania. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2: 731-740.
  • Gnecchi-Ruscone GA, Jeong C, De Fanti S, Sarno S, Trancucci M, Gentilini D, Di Blasio AM, Sherpa MG, Sherpa PT, Marinelli G, Di Marcello M, Natali L, Peluzzi D, Pettener D, Di Rienzo A, Luiselli D and Sazzini M (2017) The genomic landscape of Nepalese Tibeto-Burmans reveals new insights into the recent peopling of Southern Himalayas. Sci. Rep. 7:15512.
  • Cole AM, Cox S, Jeong C, Petousi N, Aryal DR, Droma Y, Hanaoka M, Ota M, Kobayashi N, Gaparini P, Montgomery H, Robbins P, Di Rienzo A and Cavalleri GL (2017) Genetic structure in the Sherpa and neighboring Nepalese populations (2017) BMC Genomics 18:102.

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