Jennifer A Raff

Jennifer Raff
  • Associate Professor
  • ANTH Director of Graduate Studies
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Anthropology
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008
  • Spring 2024 Office Hours: Mon. and Wed. 12:30 - 1:30pm; or by appointment - send email to

Contact Info

Office Phone:
ANTH Office Phone:
ANTH Fax #:
Fraser Hall, room 626
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Research interests:

  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Ancient DNA
  • Human Genetic Variation
  • Population Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Molecular Biology
  • Migration
  • Prehistory of the Americas
  • Native American Genetic Diversity
  • Science Literacy

Selected Publications


Raff JA. (2022) Origin: A genetic history of the Americas. Twelve Books. New York Times Bestseller (2 weeks on the list),

Raff, JA. (2016).Handbook on Science Literacy. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. ISBN 9781524907358


Scott GR, O’Rourke DH, Raff JA, Hlusko LJ, Tackney JC, Elias SA, Sicoli MA, Bourgeon L, Potapova O, Pavlova E, Pitulko V, Hoffecker JF (2021).  Peopling the Americas: Not “Out of Japan” PaleoAmerica 7(4):309-332

Raff JA and Mulligan CJ (2021). Race reconciled II: Interpreting and communicating biological variation and race in 2021. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 175:313-315.

Braje TJ, Erlandson JM, Torben C. Rick, Davis L, Dillehay T, Fedje DW, Froese D, Gusick A, Mackie Q, McLaren D, Pitblado B, Raff J, Reeder-Myers L, and Waters M. (2019). Fladmark + 40: What have we learned about a potential Pacific Coast colonization of the Americas? American Antiquity 85(1):1-21.

Flegentov P, Altınışık NE, Changmai P, Rohland N, Mallick S, Adamski N, Bolnick D, Broomandkhoshbacht N, Candilio F, Culleton B, Flegontova O, Friesen TM, Jeong C, Harper T, Keating D, Kennett D, Kim A, Lamnidis T, Lawson A, Olalde I, Oppenheimer J, Potter B, Raff J, Sattler R, Skoglund P, Stewardson K, Vajda E, Vasilyev S, Veselovskaya E, Hayes MG, O’Rourke D, Krause J, Pinhasi R, Reich D. (2019). Paleo-Eskimo genetic legacy across North America. Nature 570: 236-240.

Reynolds AW, Mata-Míguez J, Miró-Herrans A, Briggs-Cloud M, Sylestine A, Olmos FMB, Ortiz HG, Rzhetskaya M, Orozco LS, Raff JA, Hayes MG, Bolnick DA. (2019).  Comparing Signals of Natural Selection Between Three Indigenous North American Populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI:

Tackney JT and Raff JA. (2019). A different way: Perspectives on human genetic research from the Arctic. SAA Archaeological Record 19(2): 20-25.

Raff JA. (2019). Y not a Pacific migration? Misunderstandings of genetics in service to pseudoscience. SAA Archaeological Record 19(5).

Raff JA. (2019). Genomic perspectives on the peopling of the Americas. SAA Archaeological Record 19(3): 12-15.

Claw KG, Anderson MZ, Begay RL, Tsosie KS, Garrison NA and the SING Consortium*. (2018). A framework for enhancing ethical genomics research with Indigenous communities. Nature Communications 9: 2957. *Member of SING Consortium.

Bardill J, Bader AC, Garrison NA, Bolnick DA, Raff JA, Walker A, Malhi RS, and the SING Consortium. (2018). Advancing the Ethics of Paleogenomics: Shifting the Status Quo on Community Consultation. Science 360 (6387): 384-385


Raff, JA. (May 31, 2018). In an Age of Gene Editing and Surrogacy, What Does Heredity Mean? Review of Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mothers Laugh. The New York Times Book Review.

Raff, JA. (2014).Review of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance. Human Biology Volume 86(3).

Selected Presentations


“Genetics and the peopling of the Americas,” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Fall Colloquium speaker. Greenbelt, MD, November 1.

“Genetics and the First Peoples of the Americas,” Milford White 2023 speaker, Baker University, Baldwin City, KS. September 28

“The past, present, and future of genomics research in the Arctic” Keynote at Alaska Anthropological Association annual meeting, March 4th.

“The First Peoples of the Americas,” Smithsonian Institution Hot Topic lecture series. (Virtual). December 15th.

“Paleogenomics: The promise and peril of using genetics to understand the past.” Keynote for the Association on American Indian Affairs Repatriation Conference, New Buffalo, MI. October 11-13.

“Origin: What genetics tells us about the peopling of North America,” Department of Anthropology, Princeton University (co-sponsored by the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the Center for Health and Wellbeing), September 29.

Awards & Honors


2024 Human Biology Association Book Award for Origin: A genetic history of the Americas

2023 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science for Origin: A genetic history of the Americas

2022 American Anthropological Association W.W. Howells book award for Origin: A genetic history of the Americas

2019, 2022 KU Docking Faculty Scholar

Grants & Other Funded Activity


2021             Investigating the genetic history of the central and Southern Plains ($460,000). National Science Foundation. (3 years)

2019             Early Career Grant (co-PI with Justin Tackney) ($10,000). National Geographic Society. (1 year)              

2019             American Dispersals: The Genetic History of the Aleut People. ($450,000). National Science Foundation. (3 years)

2018             Funding awarded for AAAG symposium “Interpreting and communicating genetic variation in 2019: A conversation on race” March 27-30. (American Association of Physical Anthropologists, American Anthropological Association).

2015             Identifying Genomic Signatures of Evolutionary and Cultural Change in Native Americans ($285,845). National Science Foundation. Co-PI with Deborah Bolnick. (3 years)