Who We are and how We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

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Oxford University Press, 2018 - DNA - 335 pages
A groundbreaking book about how technological advances in genomics and the extraction of ancient DNA have profoundly changed our understanding of human prehistory while resolving many long-standing controversies. Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before, and it has become clear--in part from David Reich's own contributions to the field--that genomics is as important a means of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word. Now, in The New Science of the Human Past, Reich describes with unprecedented clarity just 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. He delineates how the Genomic Revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our own lineage as modern humans ; how genomics deconstructs the idea that there are no biologically meaningful differences among human populations (though without adherence to pernicious racist hierarchies) ; and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of human inequality--among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population.

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User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

A broad survey of how ancient DNA analysis is changing our understanding of human development and migrations. I didn't find it inspiring, and would have liked a more focused and personal story. It ... Read full review

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User Review  - stellarexplorer - LibraryThing

An exciting look at a revolutionary innovation, this book was a revelation! The author is one of the foremost experts on human paleogenetics. an emerging field radically influencing traditional ... Read full review


Part II How We Got to Where We Are Today
Part III The Disruptive Genome
Notes on the Illustrations
About the Author
A Note on the Type

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About the author (2018)

David Reich is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In 2015 he was highlighted by Nature magazine as one of "10 people who matter" in all of science for his role in transforming the field of ancient DNA "from niche pursuit to industrial process." In 2017 he was awarded the Dan David Prize in the Archaeological and Natural Sciences for the computational discovery of intermixing between Neanderthals and modern humans.

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