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Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

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9781101870327: Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
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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 Who We Are and How We Got Here, 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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About the Author:

Professor DAVID REICH, of the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is the world's leading pioneer in analyzing ancient human DNA. In a 2015 Nature article he was named one of "10 people who matter" in all of the sciences for his contribution to transforming ancient DNA data "from niche pursuit to industrial process." He has received numerous awards, including the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from AAAS (2010) and the 2017 Dan David Prize in the Archaeological and Natural Sciences for his computational discovery of intermixing between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

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