While I was at Spencer Wells’ poster at ASHG I was primarily curious about bar plots. He’s got really good spatial coverage, so I’m moderately excited about the paper (though I didn’t see much explicit testing of phylogenetic hypotheses, which I think this sort of paper has to do now; we’re beyond PCA and bar plots only papers). That being said, Spencer was more interested in me promoting the Scientific Grants Program. Here’s some more information:
The Genographic Project’s Scientific Grants Program awards grants on a rolling basis for projects that focus on studying the history of the human species utilizing innovative anthropological genetic tools. The variety of projects supported by the scientific grants will aim to construct our ancient migratory and demographic history while developing a better understanding of the phylogeographic structure of world populations. Sample research topics could include subjects like the origin and spread of the Indo-European languages, genetic insights into Papua New Guinea’s high linguistic diversity, the number and routes of migrations out of Africa, the origin of the Inca, or the genetic impact of the spread of maize agriculture in the Americas.
Recipients will typically be population geneticists, students, linguists, and other researchers or scientists interested in pursuing questions relevant to the Genographic Project’s broad goal of exploring our migratory history. Recipients of Genographic scientific grant funds will become members of the Genographic Consortium, and will be expected to act as agents of the greater Genographic mission, participating in and reporting on multiple aspects of Genographic fieldwork, in addition to their own proposed and mission‐aligned pilot projects. Openness and transparency within the Consortium are the key values of the project’s research team, and grantees will be expected to abide by this code of conduct.
Dienekes points to two interesting phenomena which when juxtaposed together show how the pace of technological change can outrun ideological arguments and hand wringing. Those of you who have been reading me since the early 2000s know where I stand on issues such as the “Kennewick Man” controversy. I think there’s an objective reality which should be studied. The latter is a normative judgement. There’s no rule embedded in the universe that truth needs to be set free, it’s a preference. So when it comes to Creationism of organized institutional religions, or shamanic ethnic Creationism, I don’t put much weight in its value or importance. But the shadow of Kennewick Man still looms over contemporary controversies as we crest the peak swell of human genomics in terms of the rate of increase of insight. Apparently members of the America Indian Program at Cornell are objecting to The Genographic Project. The project is headed by Spencer Wells, who has an appointment at Cornell now. An English professor associated with the American Indian Program apparently sent the student newspaper an almost parody-like email of impenetrable obfuscating academic-speak: