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Dennis H. O'Rourke

Foundation Distinguished Professor
Primary office:
785.864.2642
Fraser Hall, 635
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Summary

Dennis O'Rourke (KU – PhD in Anthropology, emphasis in genetics) - Foundation Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas, Director of the KU ancient DNA Laboratory, Associate Director of the Laboratories of Biological Anthropology, and Professor Emeritus University of Utah.

My research focuses on the use of molecular genetic methods to address long-standing questions in prehistory. My students and collaborators have conducted fieldwork and research projects in Mexico, the Caribbean, the US Southwest and California, and the North American arctic. Most recently, my group has focused attention on ancient DNA methods to investigate the colonization and dispersal of the North American arctic, and how this informs us about the earlier initial colonization of the Western Hemisphere. Utilizing genomic analyses of both human and archaeofaunal and archaeobotanical materials, my research interests and efforts increasingly are at the intersection of anthropological genetics, bioarchaeology, and paleoecology.

Research Interests

  • Anthropological genetics/genomics
  • Ancient DNA
  • Migration, colonization and regional population history
  • Bioarchaeology
  • The Americas
  • Siberia
  • The Circum-arctic

Selected Publications

Hoffecker, J. F., S. A. Elias, D. H. O’Rourke, G. R. Scott, and N. H. Bigelow. 2016. “Beringia and the Global Dispersal of Modern Humans.” Journal Articles. Evol. Anthrop 25: 64–78. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21478.
Tackney, J., B. A. Potter, J. Raff, M. Powers, S. Watkins, D. Warner, J. D. Reuther, J. D. Irish, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2015. “Two Contemporaneous Mitogenomes from Terminal Pleistocene Burials in Eastern Beringia.” Journal Articles. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1511903112.
Hoffecker, J. F., S. A. Elias, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2014. “Out of Beringia?” Journal Articles. Science (Perspective) 343: 979–80. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1250786.
Raghavan, M., M. DeGiorgio, A. Albrechtsen, I. Moltke, P. Skoglund, T. S. Korneliussen, B. Gronnow, et al. 2014. “The Genetic Prehistory of the New World Arctic.” Journal Articles. Science 345. https://doi.org/10.1126/science. 1255832.
Broughton, J. M., R. K. Beck, J. B. Coltrain, D. H. O’Rourke, and A. R. Rogers. 2012. “A Late Holocene Population Bottleneck in California Tule Elk (Cervus Elaphus Nannodes): Provisional Support from Ancient DNA.” Journal Articles. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. https://doi.org/10.1007/S10816-012-9167-Y.
O’Rourke, D. H., and J. Enk. 2012. “Genetics, Geography, and Human Variation.” Book Chapters. In Human Biology: An Evolutionary and Biocultural Approach, edited by S. Stinson, B. Bogin, and D. O’Rourke. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Stinson, S., B. Bogin, and D. H. O’Rourke, eds. 2012. Human Biology: An Evolutionary & Biocultural Perspective. Books. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2012. “Why Do We Migrate? A Retrospective.” Book Chapters. In The Causes and Consequences of Migration: An Evolutionary Perspective, edited by B. C. Campbell and M. Crawford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Raff, J., D. A. Bolnick, J. Tackney, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2011. “Ancient DNA Perspectives on American Colonization and Population History.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 146 (503–514). https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21594.
Enk, J., R. Debruyne, A. Devault, C. E. King, T. Treangen, D. H. O’Rourke, S. L. Salzberg, D. Fisher, R. Macphee, and H. Poiner. 2011. “Complete Columbian Mammoth Mitogenome Suggests Interbreeding with Woolly Mammoths.” Journal Articles. Genome Biology 12: R51. https://doi.org/10.1186/gb-2011-12-5-r51.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2011. “Contradictions and Concordances in American Colonization Models.” Journal Articles. Evolution: Education & Outreach 4 (2): 244–53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12052-011-0336-3.
Scott, G. R., and D. H. O’Rourke. 2010. “Genes across Beringia: A Physical Anthropological Perspective on the Dené-Yeniseian Hypothesis.” Book Chapters. In Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska (New Series). Special Issue: The Dené-Yeniseian Hypothesis, edited by J. Kari and B. Potter. Vol. 5.
Raff, J., J. Tackney, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2010. “South From Alaska: A Pilot ADNA Study of Genetic History on the Alaska Peninsula and Eastern Aleutians.” Journal Articles. Edited by M. H. Crawford, D. L. West, and D. H. O’Rourke. Human Biology 82: 677–94.
O’Rourke, D. H., and J. Raff. 2010. “The Genetic History of the Americas: The Final Frontier.” Journal Articles. Current Biology 20: R202–R207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.051.
O’Rourke, D. H., D. L. West, and M. H. Crawford. 2010. “Unangan Past and Present: The Contrasts Between Observed and Inferred Histories.” Journal Articles. Edited by M. H. Crawford, D. L. West, and D. H. O’Rourke. Human Biology 82: 759–64.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2009. “Human Migrations: The Two Roads Taken.” Journal Articles. Current Biology 19 (5): R203–5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.021.
Smith, S., M. G. Haye, G. Cabana, J. B. Coltrain, C. Huff, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2009. “Inferring Population Continuity versus Replacement with ADNA: A Cautionary Tale from the Aleutian Islands.” Journal Articles. Human Biology 81 (4): 19–38.
Enk, J. M., D. R. Yesner, K. J. Crossen, D. W. Veltre, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2009. “Mitochondrial DNA Sequence of a Mid-Holocene Woolly Mammoth from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska: Implications for Mammoth Evolution, Dispersal, and Pleistocene Refugia.” Journal Articles. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 273: 184–90. https://doi.org/10:1016/j.paleo.2008.12.019.
Goebel, T., M. Waters, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2008. “The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas.” Journal Articles. Science 319: 1497–1502.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2007. “Ancient DNA and Its Application to Reconstruction of Human Evolution and Population History.” Book Chapters. In Anthropological Genetics: Theory, Methods & Applications, edited by M. H. Crawford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marchani, E. E., A. R. Rogers, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2007. “The Thule Expansion: Rejecting Population Histories Using MtDNA Data and Computer Simulation.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 134 (2): 281–84.
Coltrain, J. B., M. G. Hayes, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2006. “A Radiometric Evaluation of Hrdlicka’s Aleutian Replacement Hypothesis: Population Continuity and Morphological Change.” Journal Articles. Current Anthropology 47 (3): 537–48.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2006. “Classical Marker Variation in Native North Americans.” Book Chapters. In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 3, Environment, Origins and Population, edited by D. Ubelaker. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
Hayes, M. G., J. B. Coltrain, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2005. “Molecular Archaeology of the Dorset, Thule, and Sadlermiut: Ancestor-Descendant Relationships in Eastern North American Arctic Prehistory.” Book Chapters. In Contributions to the Study of the Dorset Palaeo-Eskimos, edited by P. Sutherland. Hull, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
O’Rourke, D. H., M. G. Hayes, and S. W. Carlyle. 2005. “The Consent Process and ADNA Research: Contrasting Approaches in Northern North America.” Book Chapters. In Biological Anthropology and Ethics, edited by Trudy Turner. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Coltrain, J. B., M. G. Hayes, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2004. “Sealing, Whaling, and Caribou: The Skeletal Isotope Chemistry of Eastern Arctic Foragers.” Journal Articles. Journal of Archaeological Science 31: 39–57.
O’Rourke, D. H. 2003. “Anthropological Genetics in the Genomic Era: A Look Back and Ahead.” Journal Articles. American Anthropologist 105 (1): 101–9.
Hayes, M. E., J. B. Coltrain, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2003. “Mitochondrial Analyses of Dorset, Thule, Sadlermiut, and Aleut Skeletal Samples from the Prehistoric North American Arctic.” Book Chapters. In Mummies in a New Millenium. Proceedings of the 4th World Congress on Mummy Studies, edited by N. Lynnerup, C. Andreasen, and J. Berglund. Copenhagen: Danish Polar Center.
Stinson, S., B. Bogin, R. Huss-Ashmore, and D. H. O’Rourke, eds. 2000. Human Biology: An Evolutionary & Biocultural Perspective. Books. New York: Wiley-Liss, Inc.
O’Rourke, D. H., M. G. Hayes, and S. W. Carlyle. 2000. “Spatial and Temporal Stability of MtDNA Haplogroup Frequencies in Native North America.” Journal Articles. Human Biology 72 (1): 15–34.
Carlyle, S. W., R. L. Parr, M. G. Hayes, and D. H. O’Rourke. 2000. “The Context of Maternal Lineages in the Greater Southwest.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 113 (1): 85–101.
O’Rourke, D. H., R. L. Parr, and S. W. Carlyle. 1999. “Molecular Genetic Variation in Prehistoric Inhabitants of the Eastern Great Basin.” Book Chapters. In Understanding Prehistoric Lifeways in the Great Basin Wetlands: Bioarchaeological Reconstruction and Interpretation, edited by B. E. Hemphill and C. S. Larsen. University of Utah Press.
Parr, R. L., D. H. O’Rourke, and S. W. Carlyle. 1996. “Ancient DNA Analysis of Fremont Amerindians of the Great Salt Lake Wetlands.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 99 (4): 507–19.
O’Rourke, D. H., S. W. Carlyle, and R. L. Parr. 1996. “Ancient DNA: A Review of Methods, Progress, and Perspectives.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Hum. Biol. 8 (5): 557–71.
Suarez, B. K., C. L. Hampe, D. O’Rourke, P. Van Eerdewegh, and T. Reich. 1995. “Sib-Based Detection of QTLs.” Journal Articles. Genetic Epidemiology 12 (6): 675–80.
Bamshad, M., M. H. Crawford, D. H. O’Rourke, and L. B. Jorde. 1994. “Biochemical Heterozygosity and Morphologic Variation in a Colony of Papio Hamadryas Hamadryas Baboons.” Journal Articles. Evolution 48 (4): 1211–21.
O’Rourke, D. H., A. Mobarry, and B. K. Suarez. 1992. “Patterns of Genetic Variation in Native America.” Journal Articles. Human Biology 64 (3): 417–34.
Shearin, N. L., E. J. King, and D. H. O’Rourke. 1989. “DNA Preservation in Precolumbian Remains from the American Southwest.” Journal Articles. Human Evolution 4 (4): 263–70.
O’Rourke, D. H., and A. S. Lichty. 1989. “Spatial Analysis and Gene Frequency Maps of Native North American Populations.” Journal Articles. Collegium Antropologicum 13 (1): 73–84.
Crawford, M. H., E. J. Devor, D. H. O’Rourke, L. A. Yakovleva, A. J. Voevodin, and B. A. Lapin. 1987. “Genetics of Primate Lymphomas in a Baboon (Papio Hamadryas) Colony of Sukhumi, U.S.S.R.” Journal Articles. Genetica 73: 145–57.
McCullough, J. M., and D. H. O’Rourke. 1986. “Geographical Distribution of Consanguinity in Europe.” Journal Articles. Ann. Hum. Biol. 13 (4): 359–67.
O’Rourke, D. H., and B. K. Suarez. 1986. “Patterns and Correlates of Genetic Variation in South Amerindians.” Journal Articles. Ann. Hum. Biol. 13 (1): 13–31.
Suarez, B. K., D. H. O’Rourke, and J. D. Crouse. 1985. “Genetic Variation in North Amerindian Populations: Association with Sociocultural Complexity.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 67 (3): 233–39.
O’Rourke, D. H., B. K. Suarez, and J. D. Crouse. 1985. “Genetic Variation in North Amerindian Populations: Covariance with Climate.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 67 (3): 241–50.
Suarez, B. K., J. D. Crouse, and D. H. O’Rourke. 1985. “Genetic Variation in North Amerindian Populations: The Geography of Gene Frequencies.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 67 (3): 217–32.
O’Rourke, D. H., R. M. Baume, J. H. Mielke, and M. H. Crawford. 1984. “Dental Variation in Black Carib Populations.” Book Chapters. In Current Developments in Anthropological Genetics, Vol. 3. Black Caribs: A Case Study in Biocultural Adaptation</i>, Chapter 10, edited by M. H. Crawford, 169–87. New York: Plenum.
Crawford, M. H., D. H. O’Rourke, D. Dykes, B. Lapin, and H. Polesky. 1984. “Inbreeding, Heterozygosity and Lymphoma Risk among the Baboons (Papio Hamadryas) of Sukhumi, U.S.S.R.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Primat. 6: 143–53.
O’Rourke, D. H., G. M. Petersen, and F. E. Johnston, eds. 1983. Genetics, Evolution and Disease. Books. New York: Alan R. Liss, Inc.
O’Rourke, D. H., P. McGuffin, and T. Reich. 1983. “The Genetics of Manic-Depressive Illness.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 62 (1): 51–60.
Rice, J., I. I. Gottesman, B. K. Suarez, D. H. O’Rourke, and T. Reich. 1982. “Ascertainment Bias for Non-Twin Relatives in Twin Proband Studies.” Journal Articles. Hum. Hered. 32: 202–7.
Suarez, B. K., D. H. O’Rourke, and P. Van Eerdewegh. 1982. “Power of the Affected Sib Pair Method to Detect Disease Susceptibility Loci of Small Effect: An Application to Multiple Sclerosis.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Med. Genet. 12: 309–26.
O’Rourke, D. H., and V. Bach Enciso. 1982. “Primate Social Organization, Ecology and Genetic Variation.” Book Chapters. In Current Developments in Anthropological Genetics, Vol. 2. Ecology and Population Structure</i>, Ch. 1, edited by M. H. Crawford and J. H. Mielke, 1–28. New York: Plenum.
O’Rourke, D. H., I. I. Gottesman, B. K. Suarez, J. Rice, and T. Reich. 1982. “Refutation of the General Single Locus Model for the Etiology of Schizophrenia.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Hum. Genet. 34 (4): 630–49.
O’Rourke, D. H., and M. H. Crawford. 1980. “Odontometric Microdifferentiation of Transplanted Mexican Indian Populations: Cuanalan and Saltillo.” Journal Articles. Amer. J. Phys. Anthrop. 52 (3): 421–34.
O’Rourke, D. H., and M. H. Crawford. 1976. “Odontometric Analysis of Four Tlaxcaltecan Communities.” Book Chapters. In The Tlaxcaltecans: Prehistory, Demography, Morphology and Genetics</i>, Chapter 9, edited by M. H. Crawford, 81–92. Lawrence, KS: KU Printing Service.

Selected Grants

Collaborative Research: Birnirk prehistory and the emergence of Inupiaq Culture in Northwestern Alaska: archaeological and anthropological perspectives. PLR-1523059. National Science Foundation. $295423.00. (12/31/2015). Federal. Status: Funded. (36 Mo.).
Paleoepidemiology of Epidemic Disease in Prehistoric Europe. Funding Incentive Seed Grant, University of Utah. $33000.00. (12/31/2014). Other University. Status: Funded. (12 mo.).
Stable and Radio-Isotope Chemistry of the Nuvuk Mortuary Assemblage, Point Barrow, AK. OPP-0820790. National Science Foundation. $134247.00. (1/1/2008 - 12/31/2009). Federal. Status: Funded. (18 mo.)
Collaborative Research: IPY: Reconstruction of Human Genetic History Along the North Slope. OPP-0732846. National Science Foundation. $552543.00. (12/31/2007). Federal. Status: Funded. ($1.06mil award; $510K to M.G. Hayes, collaborating PI at Northwestern)
SGER: Morphometric Assessment of Prehistoric Skeletal Series from Nuvuk, Point Barrow, Alaska. OPP-0535356. National Science Foundation. $39858.00. (1/1/2005 - 12/31/2007). Federal. Status: Funded. (2 yrs.)
Collaborative Research: Molecular Perspectives on Aleut Origins. OPP-0327641. National Science Foundation. $271006.00. (1/1/2003 - 12/31/2006). Federal. Status: Funded. (3 yrs.)
Biocomplexity in the Environment Incubation Grant: A Temporal Perspective on Biocomplexity in the Aleutian Islands. BCS-BE 0119759. National Science Foundation. $75000.00. (1/1/2001 - 12/31/2002). Federal. Status: Funded. (1 yr.)
Collaborative Research: Origins of Aleut Populations: Molecular Perspectives. OPP 9974623. NSF. $182980.00. (1/1/1999 - 12/31/2002). Federal. Status: Funded. (3 yrs)
SGER: Identification of ancient Sin Nombre Hantavirus in the Prehistoric Southwest. BCS-0123732. NSF. $25571.00. (1/1/2001 - 12/31/2002). Federal. Status: Funded. (1 yr.)

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