Where did we come from? Spencer Wells, a 33 year old population geneticist, has closed the door on his laboratory and is embarking on the biggest adventure of his life. His mission to retrace the most extraordinary journey of all time, a journey that involves every man, woman and child alive today. He offers his thoughts on this puzzling question, employing the latest in DNA research and technology to track the migration of humanity across the globe.
By collecting blood samples from thousands of men living in isolated tribes around the world and analyzing their DNA, Spencer and his colleagues discovered that all humans alive today can be traced back to a small tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in Africa 60,000 years ago. Following this genetic trail, Spencer has charted the ancient journey of our ancestors as they populated the planet.
Spencer scours the world for indigenous people with deep roots in one place, asking for samples of DNA to test, in order to piece together our "big family" genetic tree. In Indiana Jones mode, Wells tacks down common ancestors and comes up with some surprising candidates. He shows with DNA results the diverse ways in which people and tribes react to the news of what science says about their arrival and relations. View this as adventure travel or as a painless way to begin your genetic literacy.
PBS Broadcast (2003)