Changing Places, Changing Faces

October 29, 2008 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Changing Places, Changing Faces

Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

Spencer Wells

Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
Project Director, The Genographic Project

Where do we come from, and how did we get to where we live today? The story of humanity’s journey can be found within each of us—encoded in our DNA. New tools of molecular genetics are providing tantalizing clues about how we populated the world.

Join us as Dr. Spencer Wells takes us on a tour of his latest discoveries on the Genographic Project, the largest study of genetic anthropology ever undertaken. Using genetic signposts carried in the DNA of people living today, he reveals how the incredible tapestry of human diversity has been created through our epic migrations across the earth over 60,000 years.

A leading population geneticist, author, and documentary filmmaker, Wells has dedicated much of his career to studying humankind’s family tree and closing the gaps in our knowledge of human migration through DNA. Launched in 2005, the five-year Genographic Project, a partnership of the National Geographic Society and IBM, represents the ultimate marriage of his two great passions, biology and history. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Wells took his Ph.D. at Harvard and his postdoctoral training at Stanford with noted geneticist D. Luca Cavalli-Sforza. He is the writer and presenter of the award-winning PBS/National Geographic documentary, Journey of Man, and author of the book of the same name, published worldwide in 10 languages. His many scientific awards, grants, and fellowships include the 2007 Kistler Prize for accomplishment in the field of genetics.