BOB HIRSHON (host):
History written in DNA. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Researchers are recovering human history by digging into human DNA. In the journal Current Biology, University of Oxford human evolution professor Cristian Capelli describes how genetics can reveal the migrations of people centuries ago.
CRISTIAN CAPELLI (University of Oxford):
You can recover signature of historical events about migration of people and exchange of genes, where such events have not been recorded in the history books.
Capelli’s group identifies fragments of genes that are shared between modern people of different backgrounds, and analyzes them to reveal when in history the groups intermixed. They’ve found a large wave of Mongolian migration centuries before Genghis Khan, as well as frequent mixing between Mediterranean Europeans and African populations. The work fills in information missing from archaeological remains and historical texts. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.