Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
Smithsonian Associates Inside Science, Interview Series
Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before, and genomics is emerging as important a means of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word. In his new book Who We Are and How We Got Here, my guest on The Not Old Better Show, David Reich, left, describes how the human genome provides not only all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop but also contains within it the history of our species.
Image of Tibetan boys, left: Native Tibetans make use of a gene derived from Denisovans to stay healthy at high altitudes.
Join me as I interview David Reich as he discusses how the genomic revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our lineage as modern humans, and how DNA studies reveal a history of disparity — among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population. He examines how research contradicts the orthodoxy that there are no meaningful biological differences among human populations, at the same time using evidence provided by genomics and ancient DNA to show that the differences that do exist do not conform to familiar stereotypes.
Reich, a pioneer in analyzing ancient human DNA, is a professor in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
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