His PhD advisor at Harvard was Richard Lewontin (the 15% guy). It was interesting to see how he made connections throughout his career that gave him access to various research resources. This story about when he first arrived in central Asia to collect samples is pretty funny:
"When we got off the plane, Ruslan picked us up with other members of the Institute. We went to his office—it was 8 o'clock in the morning—he gave us shots of vodka and said, “We have two variants: first variant is we rest today and work tomorrow, and the second variant is work today.""
about the people in Tajikistan
"These people can do it back six, seven, eight generations. They've always lived in the same place and beyond that they know even more about their history, but not necessarily their names...So they have a sense, a clear idea of where they came from, that something is passed from generation that ties them to their ancestors"
Apparently, the Genographic project has a center devoted to ancient DNA
Also, they've had 165,00o people who "sent in their 100 bucks and their cheek swab [for DNA analysis]" -- surprisingly high number. I wonder who these people are and why they do it?