Oct 11, 2019
Due to recent technological advances, scientists have revolutionized our understanding of human evolutionary history. What appeared to be a relatively simple story of divergence from ancient hominids is instead a tangled mess involving repeated cycles of divergence and hybridization between evolving human species. Today my guest is Jason Wilder, who researches human evolutionary genetics and genomics. We discuss the genetics of malaria resistance and parallel evolution, CCR5 deficiency and resistance to HIV infection, gene editing and the creation of designer babies, gene editing to treat disease, and introgression between modern humans and archaic forms, including Neanderthals and Denisovans. Jason received his B.A. in biology at Williams College and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He then worked at the University of Arizona and Williams before joining the faculty at Northern Arizona University, where he is a professor of genetics and the Interim Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences.