Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Deborah A. Bolnick

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Deborah A. Bolnick



Bolnick's research focuses on human genetic variation and how it is shaped by culture, language, history, and geography. She uses both ancient and modern DNA to reconstruct Native American prehistory. She is also interested in genetic ancestry testing and how it affects our understanding of race and ethnicity. On the subject of genetic ancestry testing, she has been widely interviewed by the popular press, including the PBS News Hour, BBC World Radio, and the Wall Street Journal. Bolnick's research was featured in a 2007 UT homepage feature story, Deep Roots?


Genomic anthropology, ancient DNA studies, human biological variation, race, population genetics, Native American prehistory, anthropology of science


Courses Taught

Anthropological Genetics (Fall/Spring 2010, Spring 2009, Fall 2007, Spring 2006)

Human Variation (Fall 2009, Spring 2007, Fall 2005)

Human/Primate Evolutionary Genetics (Spring 2010)

Race and Science (Fall 2010)

Constructions of Race in Biology and Physical Anthropology (Fall 2006)

Recent Publications

(See webpage for complete list of publications)

Bolnick DA. In press. Continuity and change in anthropological perspectives on migration: insights from molecular anthropology. In: Cabana GS, Clark JJ, editors. Current Developments in the Anthropological Study of Past Human Migration.

Bolnick, DA. 2009. Comment on “Color, race, and genomic ancestry in Brazil: dialogues between anthropology and genetics” by Ricardo Santos et al. Current Anthropology 50:802-803.

Lee SS, Bolnick DA, Duster T, Ossorio P, TallBear K. 2009. The illusive gold standard in genetic ancestry testing. Science 325:38-39.

Veilleux CC, Bolnick DA. 2009. Opsin gene polymorphism predicts trichromacy in a cathemeral lemur. American Journal of Primatology 71:86-90.

Bolnick DA. 2008. Individual ancestry inference and the reification of race as a biological phenomenon. In: Koenig B, Lee S, Richardson S, editors. Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pp 70-88.

Halverson MS, Bolnick DA. 2008. An ancient DNA test of a founder effect in Native American ABO blood group frequencies. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137:342-347.

Bolnick DA, Fullwiley D, Marks J, Reverby SM, Kahn J, TallBear K, Reardon J, Cooper RS, Duster T, Fujimura JH, Kaufman JS, Morning A, Nelson A, Ossorio P. 2008. Response to “The legitimacy of genetic ancestry tests” by Tony Frudakis. Science 319:1039-1040.  

Bolnick DA, Fullwiley D, Duster T, Cooper RS, Fujimura JH, Kahn J, Kaufman JS, Marks J, Morning A, Nelson A, Ossorio P, Reardon J, Reverby SM, TallBear K. 2007. The science and business of genetic ancestry testing. Science 318:399-400.  

Bolnick DA, Smith DG. 2007. Migration and social structure among the Hopewell: evidence from ancient DNA. American Antiquity 72:627-644.

Kemp BM, Malhi RS, McDonough J, Bolnick DA, Eshleman JA, Rickards O, Martinez-Labarga C, Johnson JR, Lorenz JG, Dixon EJ, Fifield TE, Heaton TH, Worl R, Smith DG. 2007. Genetic analysis of early Holocene skeletal remains from Alaska and implications for the peopling of the Americas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132:605-621.

Bolnick DA, Bolnick DI, Smith DG. 2006. Asymmetric male and female genetic histories among Native Americans from eastern North America. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23:2161-2174.

bottom border