Harvard Geneticist David Reich is at the cutting edge of answering one of the age-old questions: Where did humans come from? Genomics is as critical to our understanding of human development as language, archeology and writings. Perhaps even more so. The data is replicable, the science is hard and it is moving fast.
Reich is one of the pioneers analyzing ancient human DNA. He starts his book by writing that some of the notions he presents could well be out of date by the time of publication. That is how fast new discoveries are emerging as labs around the world examine the genome of ancient humans.
He brings readers up to date with the latest science in his new book, Who We Are and How We Got Here:Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.
If you want to skip around this interview, here are a few points we cover.
1:30: What the genome revolutions reveals.
4:30: Was there an “Eve?”
9:13: What is meant by a human population?
10:31 Confronting the issue of race.
12:00: Genetic studies on diseases that affected human populations
16:48: Encounters of different human species
21:27: Genomic studies in Africa will offer rich new insights into human evolution
23:40: What is a modern human
25:06: Building an atlas of human variation
26:53: The ethics of taking the ancient DNA from skeletons.