In recent years, tools for functional genomic studies have become increasingly feasible for use by evolutionary anthropologists. In this review, we provide brief overviews of several exciting in vitro techniques that can be paired with “-omics” approaches (e.g., genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) for potentially powerful evolutionary insights. These in vitro techniques include ancestral protein resurrection, cell line experiments using primary, immortalized, and induced pluripotent stem cells, and CRISPR-Cas9 genetic manipulation. We also discuss how several of these methods can be used in vivo, for transgenic organism studies of human and nonhuman primate evolution. Throughout this review, we highlight example studies in which these approaches have already been used to inform our understanding of the evolutionary biology of modern and archaic humans and other primates while simultaneously identifying future opportunities for anthropologists to use this toolkit to help answer additional outstanding questions in evolutionary anthropology.
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