Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
David Reich, Ph.D.Professor, Genetics, Harvard University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
Scientists sequenced the first ancient human genomes in 2010, and since then, more than 5000 additional ancient genomes have been published. That work makes it possible to ask and answer questions about the past that were impossible to address before. A measure of a new scientific instrument’s novelty is how often it reveals surprises, and by this measure, ancient DNA has been as revelatory as past instruments like the microscope.
In this talk, David Reich will discuss how ancient DNA has revealed archaic human populations that interbred with modern humans that we did not know about before. He will talk about how ancient DNA has revealed that large-scale mixing of populations is not just a phenomenon of the last 500 years but has occurred throughout human history. He will finally discuss how we can use ancient DNA to estimate how large and mobile human populations were in the deep past.
Registration is required for this free event.
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