Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza

1999 Balzan Prize for the Science of Human Origins

For his comprehensive work on human evolution by integrating genetic and cultural features.

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza,, born on 25 January 1922 in Genoa, is a dual citizen of Italy and the United States.
MD in Medicine and Surgery (1944) from the University of Pavia, and MA (1950) from the University of Cambridge, UK.

Director of Research in Microbiology, Istituto Sieroterapico Milanese, Milan (1950-1957); Lecturer in Genetics and in Statistics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Parma and University of Pavia (1957-1960); Professor of Genetics, University of Parma (1960-1962); Professor of Genetics and Director of the Institute of Genetics, University of Pavia (1962-1970); at Stanford University: Professor of Genetics (1970-1992), Chairman of the Department of Genetics (1986-1990), and, at present, Professor Emeritus (Active) at the School of Medicine (since 1992).

From his many honours, we cite:
the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland,
Huxley Lecture in Anthropology, London (1972),
R.A. Fisher Memorial Lecture, London (1974),
Premio Ibico Reggino, Reggio Calabria (1976),
Weldon Medal in Biometry, University of Oxford (1978),
Premio Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome (1982),
Fifth San Remo International Award for Human Genetics, Berlin (1986),
Allen Award in Human Genetics (American Society of Human Genetics, 1987),
Gold Medal of the Italian National Research Council (1990),
International Catalonia Award (1992),
Fyssen International Award (1994),
Premio Nonino (1996),
Chiron Award from the Italian Academy of Medicine (1998);
President of the Biometric Society (1967-1968),
Vice- President of the International Congress of Genetics, Tokyo (1968);
Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1973), and of the Japanese Society of Human Genetics (1977),
Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (1978),
Honorary Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge UK (1982),
President of the American Society of Human Genetics (1989),
Membre associé of the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris (1990),
National Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (1991),
Foreign Member of the Royal Society, London (1992).
he received honorary degrees from Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, as well as from the Italian universities of Calabria, Bologna, Cagliari and Rome

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza is the author and co-author of many scientific books and articles, as well as Popular Science publications. Scientific books: 

Scientific books

  • La teoria dell’Urto e le Unità Biologiche Elementari (with A. Buzzati-Traverso), 1948, Milan: Longanesi; 
  • Analisi Statistica per Medici e Biologi, 1961, first edition; 1993, third edition, Turin: Boringhieri;
  • The Genetics of Human Populations (with W. Bodmer), 1971, San Francisco: Freeman, 1999,
  • Mineola, N.Y., Dover Publications;
  • Genetics, Evolution, and Man (with W. Bodmer), 1976, San Francisco: Freeman; Italian edition Mondadori; 
  • Cultural Transmission and Evolution: A Quantitative Approach (with M.W. Feldman), 1981, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press; 
  • The Neolithic Transition and the Genetics of Populations in Europe (with A. Ammerman), 1984, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press; Italian edition Bollati Boringhieri;
    African Pygmies (ed.), 1986, Orlando, Florida: Academic Press; 
  • History and Geography of Human Genes (with P. Menozzi and A. Piazza), 1994, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press; Italian edition Adelphi 1997. 

Scientific articles

Among his over 500 scientific articles, some of the most recent are: 

  • Cavalli-Sforza LL et al., 1988, Reconstruction of Human Evolution: Bringing Together Genetic Archeologic and Linguistic Data. PNAS. 85:6002-6006;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL et al., 1992, Coevolution of Genes and Languages Revisited. PNAS. 89:5620-4;
    Mountain JL et al., 1992, Evolution of Modern Humans: Evidence from Nuclear DNA Polymorphisms. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Biol Sci. 337 (1280):159-65;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL et al., 1993, Demic Expansions and Human Evolution. Science. 259:639-46;
    Zei et al., 1993, Barriers to Gene Flow Estimated by Surname Distribution in Italy. Ann Hum Genet. 57:123-40; 
  • Bowcock AM et al., 1994, High Resolution of Human Evolutionary Trees with Polymorphic Microsatellites. Nature. 368:455-7;
  • Mountain JL e Cavalli-Sforza LL, 1994, Inference of Human Evolution through Cladistic Analysis of Nuclear DNA Restriction Polymorphisms. PNAS. 91:6515-9;
  • Piazza A et al., 1995, Genetics and the Origin of European Languages. PNAS. 92:5836-40;
  • Seielstad M et al., 1994, Construction of Human Y-chromosomal Haplotypes Using a New Polymorphic A to G Transition. Hum Mol Genet. 3:2159-61;
  • Mountain JL et al., 1995, Demographic History of India and mtDNA-sequence Diversity. Am J Hum Genet. 56:979-92;
  • Goldstein DB et al., 1995, Genetic Absolute Dating Based on Microsatellites and the Origin of Modern Humans. PNAS. 92:6723-7;
  • Underhill PA et al., 1996, A Pre-Columbian Y chromosome-specific Transition and its Implications for Human Evolutionary History. PNAS. 93:196-200;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL, 1997, Genetic and Cultural Diversity in Europe. J Anthr Res. 53:383-404;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL, 1997, Genes, Peoples, and Languages. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 94:7719-24;
  • Barbujani AE et al., 1997, Apportionment of Human DNA Diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 94:4516-9;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL e Minch E, 1997, Paleolithic and Neolithic Lineages in the European Mitochondrial Gene Pool [letter]. Am J Hum Genet. 61:247-54;
  • Underhill PA et al., 1997, Detection of Numerous Y chromosome Biallelic Polymorphisms by Denaturating High-performance Liquid Chromatography. Genome Res. 7:996-1005;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL, 1998, The Chinese Human Genome Diversity Project. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 95:111501-11503;
  • Cavalli-Sforza LL, 1998, The DNA Revolution in Population Genetics. Trends Genet. 14:60-65.   

Popular Science publications

  • Chi Siamo – La Storia Della Diversità Umana (with F. Cavalli-Sforza), 1993, Milan: Mondadori; translation into English The Great Human Diasporas, 1995, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley; 
  • Geni, Popoli e Lingue, 1996, Milan: Adelphi; translation into English (forthcoming): Genes, Peoples, and Languages, 1999, New York, N.Y.: Farrar Straus & Giroux, Inc.; 
  • La Scienza della Felicità (with F. Cavalli-Sforza); Milan: Mondadori. 

    He has published many articles in Italian daily newspapers such as “La Stampa”, “Corriere della Sera” and “La Repubblica”.

(October 1999)

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