Italian-born population geneticist, Professor at Stanford University from 1970 and Member of the ICGEB Council of Scientific Advisers from 1985-2005, L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza has passed away at the age of 96.
Pioneer of a new field of research combining the concrete findings of demography with analysis of blood groups in an actual human population, he also studied the connections between migration patterns and blood groups and pioneered statistical methods for estimating evolutionary trees (phylogenies).
Together with A.W.F. Edwards, he wrote about trees of populations within the human species where genetic differences are affected both by treelike patterns of historical separation of populations and by the spread of genes among populations by migration and admixture. In later papers, he wrote about the effects of both divergence and migration on human gene frequencies.
While he is best known for his work in genetics, he also initiated the sub-discipline of cultural anthropology known alternatively as coevolution, gene-culture coevolution, cultural transmission theory or dual inheritance theory.