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History WithinThe Science, Culture, and Politics of Bones, Organisms, and Molecules$
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Marianne Sommer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226347325

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226349879.001.0001

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The Geography of “Our Heritage”

The Geography of “Our Heritage”

From the Human Genome Diversity Project to the Genographic Project

(p.302) Chapter Thirteen The Geography of “Our Heritage”
History Within

Marianne Sommer

University of Chicago Press

The Human Genome Diversity Project was closely related to Cavalli-Sforza’d earlier research, especially as it was presented in History and Geography of Human Genes (1994). Not only the interest in reconstructing the modern human history, but also the blood collecting effort date further back. The HGDP was to expand that effort into a concerted global endeavour. In the project, the gene pools of indigenous peoples – the people who were to be sampled – were conceptualized as a panhuman heritage along the lines of notions of cultural heritage. Like his science before, the HGDP met with criticism from other disciplines and now also from indigenous groups. The chapter shows how the legacy of the HGDP is clearly visible in what is seen as its successor: The Genographic Project, with which Cavalli-Sforza, too, was associated. It in particular profited from the coming of age of the Y-chromosome as a population genetic system. It is shown that the Genographic Project was driven by a similar rhetoric of human advancement as Cavalli-Sforza used.

Keywords:   Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, The Human Genome Diversity Project, The Genographic Project, Spencer Wells, Y Chromosome Consortium, Y-chomosomal markers, controversy, interdisciplinarity, evolutionary philosophy, history

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