Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

Paperback

By (author) Spencer Wells

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  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 200mm x 20mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 18 September 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Hanover, PA
  • ISBN 10: 1426201184
  • ISBN 13: 9781426201189
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: b&w
  • Sales rank: 189,669

Product description

The fossil record locates human origins in Africa, but little is known about the great journey that took Homo sapiens to the far reaches of the Earth. How did we, each of us, end up where we are? Why do we appear in such a wide array of different colours and features? Such questions are even more amazing in light of genetic evidence that we are all related - descended from a common African ancestor who lived only 60,000 years ago. Thanks to new genetic testing methods, we now know that the greatest history book ever written is the one hidden in our DNA. In Deep Ancestry", geneticist and explorer Spencer Wells unravels the slight changes in our DNA over time to tell the ancient story of our shared human journey. He also details the current work of The Genographic Project - the landmark five-year study, already underway at ten research laboratories around the globe, that will assemble the world's largest collection of DNA samples to map how humankind populated the planet.He describes how, over the next five years, the Project will use sophisticated computer analysis of DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people - including indigenous populations and the general public - to reveal man's migratory history and to better understand the connections and differences that make up the human race. The narrative works backward, starting from today and gradually working its way to humankind's common ancestors.From the beginning, the book taps into a reader's interest in genealogy, family history, and ethnic identity. Most of us have a decent sense of our family history, but eventually we all hit a brick wall. DNA takes us beyond it, and this is the unifying theme that will lead us from the stories of the present into the realm of deep ancestry. "Deep Ancestry" represents the very latest research on where we came from and relates them to our own personal quest to discover the deep ancestry behind our family genealogies and touch the depths of our common origins.

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Author information

Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the director of the Genographic Project. After studying under genetic pioneer Luigi Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University, he began an unusual career that mixes science, writing, and filmmaking. His acclaimed first book, "The Journey of Man, " combined his own DNA research with the work of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, paleoclimatologists, and linguists to show how modern humans came to populate the planet.

Review quote

"In this concise and well-written work, Wells "(The Journey of Man)" provides an accessible introduction to genetic anthropology, the study of human history using genetic evidence. It is a remarkable journey that will appeal to readers of all backgrounds interested in exploring the science and research behind human evolution." "--Publishers Weekly" "Wells ends the book with an invitation to take part in the project... This is a rare chance to not only learn about ourselves, but to contribute in a worldwide scientific experiment." "--Bookpage"