Conversations with Eran Elhaik: Tracking ancient migrations

Scientific Inquirer

Since man started telling stories he has been captivated by his origins. From Genesis to Gilgamesh, originary tales attempted to explain how human development. Modern science – hard and soft – has clearly shared this obsession and has picked up the mantle, replacing wild speculation with a smattering of fact.

That’s where researchers like Eran Elhaik come in. By applying evolutionary genomics to populations, he is able to discern snapshots of people by tracing their geographic movements. When used with human fossils, this biogeograpic approach can decipher aspects of the past by analyzing ancient DNA.

Elhaik developed a novel technology called Geographic Population Structure at his University of Sheffield lab. In a 2014 paper published in Nature titled, “Geographic population structure analysis of worldwide human populations infers their biogeographic origins”, he laid the foundation for the use of the aGPS algorithm in analyzing place of origin through DNA.

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