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Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Evening Program with Book Signing

Inside Science program

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0193

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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 archaeology, linguistics, and the written word. In his new book Who We Are and How We Got Here (Pantheon), David Reich 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.

Join 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.

Copies of Who We Are and How We Got Here are available for purchase and signing.

Smithsonian Connections

A prevailing theory holds that the first Americans arrived in a single wave from Eurasia, and all Native American populations today descend from this single group of adventurous founders. Smtihsonian.com reports on a genetic study coauthored by David Reich that backs up the suggestion that another migratory surge links Amazon groups to indigenous Australians.

Inside Science

Location
National Museum of the American Indian
Rasmuson Theater
4th St & Independence Ave SW
Metro: L'Enfant Plaza