Profile: David Reich on ancient DNA

Harvard geneticist David Reich recently was awarded a prize in Molecular Biology from the National Academy of Sciences. On the occasion, PNAS has done an interview with him, by journalist Beth Azar: Q and As with David Reich.

The interview may not offer much new for people following human evolution closely, but I thought it was worth sharing Reich’s comments on how the field of ancient DNA might move forward:

PNAS:What are you most excited about moving forward?
Reich: I’d like to help midwife this explosive new field into something that is mature and fully integrated into archeology. One goal is to help generate a lot more data from understudied places in the world, especially outside of Europe, and to build an ancient DNA-based atlas of human migrations all around the world. I would also like to help realize the potential of ancient DNA to provide insights into biology. To understand biological change over time, it is critical to understand how the frequencies of genetic variations change. To do that, large sample sizes of ancient people are needed. In the last two years, due to efforts by our lab and others to scale-up data production, the needed sample sizes are finally becoming available.