Tracing the genetic history of African Americans using ancient DNA, and ethical questions at a famously weird medical museum
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Bringing together ancient DNA from a burial site and a giant database of consumer ancestry DNA helps fill gaps in African American ancestry, and a reckoning for Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum
First up on this week’s show, ancient DNA researchers and ancestry giant 23andMe joined forces to uncover present day ties to a cemetery at the Catoctin Furnace ironworks in Maryland, where enslaved people were buried. Contributing producers and hosts of the Dope Labs podcast Titi Shodiya and Zakiya Whatley spoke with authors Éadaoin Harney and David Reich about the historical significance of this work and how it may help some African American communities recover parts of their lost genealogy. Our News team also covered the paper here.
Next we have a conversation with Staff Writer Rodrigo Pérez Ortega about Philadelphia’s famously creepy Mütter Museum. He talks to producer Kevin McLean about his recent story on the ethics of showcasing the various medical curiosities that the museum is known for.
This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.
Authors: Sarah Crespi, Kevin McLean, Titi Shodiya, Zakiya Whatley, Rodrigo Pérez Ortega
Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adk1038