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African-American Lives 2 [electronic resource]: The Past Is Another Country

The science of genetics has created an exciting new dimension in the study of black history and heritage. In this program, DNA analysis leads to fascinating discoveries about the lineages of participants-and the ancestry of host Henry Louis Gates, Jr., himself. A groundbreaking study links Professor Gates to a powerful ancient Irish warlord, while genetic evidence suggests that Peter Gomes' direct paternal line reaches back to a Portuguese Jew who fled the country in the early 1500s to escape the Inquisition.

Made in Taiwan [electronic resource]: Genes, Culture, and the Peopling of the South Pacific

DNA testing has become a standard tool in genealogical research, but it takes more than saliva swabs and lab reports to truly understand one's ancestry. In this program, two young New Zealanders of Polynesian descent undergo DNA sampling, wrestle with the surprising results, and then embark on a journey of discovery, searching for their roots across the Pacific and into Asia. Their voyage-by land, sea, and air-traces in reverse the steps their ancestors would have taken thousands of years ago, passing through the Cook Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, and ending eventually in Taiwan. For studying the overlap between genomic research and the cultural aspects of human migration, this is a moving and highly relevant odyssey.
2009; 2006

Skin Deep [electronic resource]: Nina Jablonski's Theory of Race

Students of evolution understand that when our ancient African ancestors lost their body hair and ventured out onto the hot savannah, their skin became dark to protect against UV radiation, while subsequent migration away from the equator yielded paler people. But in 2000, Penn State University anthropologist Nina Jablonski proposed a startling new theory as to why human pigmentation is so diverse. In this program, Jablonski suggests that skin color evolved mainly to allow for the production of vitamin D and folic acid, both necessary for reproductive success. Focusing on groundbreaking research and personal accounts of scientists around the world, the film takes a fresh look at the interplay between environmental adaptation and human skin tones.