Carlos D. Bustamante is a population geneticist and a professor at Stanford University.

Carlos D. Bustamante
Alma materHarvard University (B.A., Ph.D.)
AwardsMacArthur Fellowship
Scientific career
FieldsBiology/Population Genetics
InstitutionsStanford University
Cornell University


Early life and educationEdit

Bustamante is a native of Venezuela who immigrated to the United States at age seven.[1] He attended Harvard University, from which he graduated with a bachelor's and later a doctorate in biology.[2]

Professional careerEdit

He has published over 100 works in peer-reviewed journals. For his contributions to population genetics he was awarded, in 2010, a MacArthur Fellowship grant, for "mining DNA sequence data to address fundamental questions about the mechanisms of evolution, the complex origins of human genetic diversity, and patterns of population migration."[3]

Bustamante has said that he does not consider race to be a "meaningful way to characterize people", commenting that "In a global context there is no model of three, or five, or even 10 human races. There is a broad continuum of genetic variation that is structured, and there are pockets of isolated populations. Three, five, or 10 human races is just not an accurate model; it is far more of a continuum model."[1] He observed, "If I walk from Cape Horn all the way to the top of Finland, every village looks like the village next to it, but at the extremes people are different."[1]

In 2018, Bustamante carried out DNA testing of United States Senator Elizabeth Warren that concluded that "the vast majority" of Warren’s ancestry is European, but that "the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor six to ten generations ago."[4]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c Rotman, David (October 15, 2018). "DNA databases are too white. This man aims to fix that.: Carlos D. Bustamante's hunt for genetic variations between populations should help us better understand and treat disease". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  2. ^ "Carlos Bustamante: Professor of Biomedical Data Science, of Genetics and, by courtesy, of Biology". Stanford University. Retrieved October 15, 2018. Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante is an internationally recognized leader in the application of data science and genomics technology to problems in medicine, agriculture, and biology.
  3. ^ "Carlos D. Bustamante: Population Geneticist, Class of 2010". MacArthur Foundation. 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2018. Carlos D. Bustamante is a population biologist who mines DNA sequence data for insights into the dynamics and migration of populations and the mechanisms of evolution and natural selection. In studies of humans, Bustamante analyzes SNPs (sites of common variation in a DNA sequence) from many individuals to infer changes in human populations and their relationship to specific gene mutations. He compared SNPs in regions of DNA that are translated into proteins with those in non-coding regions of the genome; from this analysis, he inferred that between a third and a half of mutations that change protein composition are lethal or produce weak negative selection, generating further understanding of a long-standing question of population genetics. He has applied SNP-based methods to retrace the history of species’ domestication, both plants and animals; collaborative investigations of Asian rice and dogs, for example, have provided clues about where and how long ago humans domesticated these species. Bustamante has also teased out higher-resolution reconstructions of human demographic and migration patterns using new data sets from ethnically and geographically diverse samples. He and his colleagues have used DNA markers to assess the impact of shared language and geographic obstacles on migration patterns and genetic composition of human subpopulations in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Through his multifaceted research, Bustamante is developing a rigorous, quantitative foundation for addressing fundamental questions about genetics and evolution across species, about patterns of population migration, and about the complex origins of human genetic diversity, before recorded history and since.
  4. ^ Linskey, Annie (October 15, 2018). "Warren releases results of DNA test". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 15, 2018.