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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Spring 2019

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Who We Are and How We Got Here
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
By (author): David Reich
9781101873465 Paperback, Trade English General Trade SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics Feb 05, 2019
$22.95 CAD
Active 5.2 x 7.99 x 0.75 in 368 pages Vintage
Here is a groundbreaking book about how the extraction of DNA from ancient bones has 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 archaeology, linguistics, and the written word. 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 explains how the genomic revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of the lineage of modern humans and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of inequality—among different populations between the sexes, and among individuals within a population. His book gives the lie to the orthodoxy that there are no meaningful biological differences among human populations, and at the same time uses the definitive evidence provided by genomics to show that the differences that do exist are unlikely to conform to familiar stereotypes.

POPULAR SCIENCE AT ITS BEST: This book is very much in the vein of such popular science bestsellers as The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene, The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman, and The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku.

PIONEERING HISTORIC WORK: Reich’s rigorous analysis of the ancient DNA has provided critical insights into the history of human biology, and he is widely recognized for his discovery of intermixing between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens (modern humans), which was a step change in human evolution studies. He has been described as “the world’s leading pioneer in analyzing ancient human DNA.”

LEADING SCIENTIST: A professor in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, David Reich was cowinner with Eugenie Reich of the highly prestigious, international science Dan David Prize in 2017. In a 2015 Nature magazine article, Reich was named one of the “10 People Who Matter” in all the sciences.

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 Genzyme Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Research Award (2007).

Author Residence: Cambridge, MA

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“Ancient DNA is rewriting human (and Neanderthal) history. The genomes of the long dead are turning up all sorts of unexpected and controversial findings. Who We Are and How We Got Here charts the myriad ways the study of ancient DNA is lobbing bombs into the halls of established wisdom.”—The Atlantic

“A thrilling account of mapping humans through time and place…. Genomics and statistics have drawn back the curtain on the sort of sex and power struggles you’d expect in Game of Thrones…. We do need a nonloaded way to talk about genetic diversity and similarities in populations. This book goes some way to starting that conversation.” —Nature

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